A Nano Scale Turkish Flag is written on Silicon surface by the graduate students in Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) Group, Physics Department and National Nanotechnology Research Centre at the Science Faculty. Munir Dede, Özgür Karcı, Özge Girişen, Hülya Ayan, Mehrdad Atabak and Sevil Özer, who were the team members lead by Dr. Ahmet Oral, succeeded to draw the smallest Turkish flag to date in their second attempt: the lines are 100 nanometre(nm) wide and ~2 nanometre(nm) high!... The students used a blank hydrogen terminated silicon chip as the canvas. They oxidised the silicon canvas with the atomically sharp tip by application of short voltage pulses, as they scanned the surface. The height of the flag corresponds to ~10 atomic layers of silicon dioxide! In comparison human hair is typically 50 micrometers or 50,000 nm. The group used an Atomic Force Microscope developed and built at Bilkent for Nanolithography. The microscopes developed at the SPM Group are commercialized by the first Nanotechnology spin-offs in Turkey, located at Cyberpark.
The Nanolithography module of the microscope software in particular was developed by NanoSis at the Cyberpark in collaboration with the students. These unique microscopes have been sold to the best universities like MIT, Oxford etc. and the top research labs like Seagate Technology, Los Alamos National Lab etc. in the world. The SPM Group’s roots go back to early days of Bilkent, in 1989 the group has built the first Scanning Probe Microscope in Turkey, during a Master’s Thesis at the Physics Department. The students believe that ‘There is plenty of room at the bottom’ and their nano-patterning method can be perfected to write smaller lines to develop Nanosensors and Nanodevices for novel applications. The group is very ambitious to advance their technique towards atomic and molecular level manipulation and measurement of miniscule forces between atoms and molecules.