PhysOrg.com brings news and a video of a new 3D patterning technique from IBM that reaches down to 15 nm resolution which “could go even smaller”:

IBM Research in Zurich has demonstrated a new nanoscale patterning technique that could replace electron beam lithography (EBL). The demonstration carved a 1:5 billion scale three-dimensional model of the Matterhorn, a 4,478 meter high mountain lying on the border between Italy and Switzerland, to show how their technique could be used for a number of applications, such as creating nanoscale lenses on silicon chips for carrying optical circuits at a scale so small that electronic circuits are inefficient…

The demonstration also sculpted a relief map of the world that measured 22 by 11 micrometers. According to the IBM press release the scale of the map is so small 1,000 of them could be drawn on a single grain of salt. IBM says the current technology can go as small as 15 nanometers, but in the future could go even smaller.

See also the abstract from Science.  Impressive top-down nanotech: who knows how small they will go?  —Chris Peterson