Patent Number: 8,819,861

Title: Nanometer-scale sharpening of conductor tips

Abstract: The invention provides methods for sharpening the tip of an electrical conductor. The methods of the invention are capable of producing tips with an apex radius of curvature less than 2 nm. The methods of the invention are based on simultaneous direction of ionized atoms towards the apex of a previously sharpened conducting tip and application of an electric potential difference to the tip. The sign of the charge on the ions is the same as the sign of the electric potential. The methods of the invention can be used to sharpen metal wires, metal wires tipped with conductive coatings, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, semiconducting nanowires and semiconductors in other forms.

Inventors: Lyding; Joseph W. (Champaign, IL), Schmucker; Scott W. (Champaign, IL)

Assignee: The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

International Classification: G01Q 70/16 (20100101)

Expiration Date: 8/26/12018