Selective Redox of Thin Films using a Thermal Nanotip Probe

Nanotechnologies : Physical Science Apps

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  • Roger Bonnecaze, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Meghali Chopra , NASCENT
  • Sonali Chopra, B.S. , Nascent
  • Jeremy Binagia , Chemical Engineering
  • Bryce Edmondson , University of Texas at Austin
  • John Ekerdt, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering

Background/unmet need

The ability to create nanoscale metal and metal oxide patterns is required in a variety of applications including microelectronics and carbon nanotubes. Typically metal patterning processes are performed through a complicated series of lithography and etch steps, which are time-consuming, often wasteful, and expensive.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have invented a new, more efficient method of creating metal and metal oxide patterns using selective reduction and oxidation. This invention offers significant opportunities for the advancement of microelectronics. Selective redox allows for direct write patterning of the surface, and there is even potential to achieve sub-5 nm features.


    Selective redox is an alternate approach to conventional methods of metal film deposition processes, which are often susceptible to carbon contamination, suffer from poor nucleation, or require high temperatures. Additionally, this method provides many benefits over traditional top-down patterning, including greater control and uniformity, reduced cost, less waste, and perhaps most importantly, the potential for sub-5 nm features.


  • Nanoscale resolution
  • 3D patterning
  • Reduces etching and lithography steps
  • Shape control
  • Enhanced uniformity and control of metal patterns
  • Reduced waste

Market potential/applications

This invention is valuable for applications where metal/metal oxides are required, such as microelectronics or photonics. Gartner reports the global market for equipment sales into semiconductor manufacturing for lithography and etch processes was $33.6B in 2015.

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status

  • 1 PCT patent application filed