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Advanced Materials

STM-based nanotechnology: The japanese challenge


  • Dr. François Grey

    Corresponding author
    1. Aono Atomcraft Project, ERATO, JRDC 5-9-9 Tohkohdai, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki;305 (Japan)
    • Aono Atomcraft Project, ERATO, JRDC 5-9-9 Tohkohdai, Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki;305 (Japan)
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    • was born in Montreal, Canada, in 1963. He obtained a B.S.c. in physics from Imperial College, London, in 1984, and a Ph.D. in physics from Copenhagen University in 1988. His doctoral research focused on X-ray diffraction studies of phase transitions on semiconductor surfaces, and was carried out at the Hamburg Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory with the support of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart. From 1988 to 1991 he was a post-doctoral researcher at Risø; National Laboratory in Denmark, studying theoretical and experimental aspects of crystalline epitaxy, as well as investigating the fractal nature of cauliflowers and other vegetables. He joined the Aono Atomcraft Project in 1991. He is also a regular contributor to the Science and Technology section of “The Economist”.

  • I wish to thank S. Hosoki (Hitachi Central Research Laboratory), M. Iwatsuki (JEOL Ltd.), K. Tanaka (National Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research), Y. Tsukamoto (NEC Functional Devices Research Laboratories), and Y. Utsugi (NTT LSI Laboratories) for kindly providing material concerning their research activities. In addition, it is a great pleasure to acknowledge all my colleagues at the Atomcraft Project, and in particular M. Aono, for their help in preparing this manuscript, as well as for the highly stimulating research atmosphere they are providing during my stay in Japan


Japan is launching an ambitious ten-year nanotechnology project, the goal of which is the “ultimate manipulation of atoms and molecules”. An important aspect of this project is the use of the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to modify materials on the nanometer scale. Another five-year Japanese project devoted entirely to STM-controlled atom-scale fabrication is already nearing completion. Japanese industrial laboratories have also produced some outstanding results in this area of research. This article reviews recent Japanese efforts in STM-based nanotechnology and attempts to put these in a worldwide perspective.

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