Filamentary high-resolution electrical probes for nanoengineering

image illustrating high and low resistance states

The challenge of confining electrical fields to a nanoscale region is addressed in this paper, published in Nano Letters, produced by the departments of Materials and Physics at the University of Oxford. 

The paper reveals how nanoscale phase switching of configurable thin films (of either germanium-antimony-tellerium or amorphous-carbon) on probes can result in high-resolution electrical probes. 

Forming a localised conductive filament through phase transition, the researchers were able to demonstrate a spatial resolution of electrical field beyond the geometrical limitations of commercial platinum probes (an improvement of almost 50%) which was used to manipulate nanoparticles with single nanoparticle precision via dielectrophoresis. 

These results advance the field of nanomanufacturing and metrology with direct applications for pick and place assembly at the nanoscale.