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Small Gap between parallel plates

  1. Jul 22, 2013 #1
    Any ideas on how one can make a small gap (~10-50nm) between two parallel plates and maintain a known distance between them. I have two very flat surfaces and I would like to maintain a small gap (known gap) across them. I searched in the literature but I came up with nothing so if you have any ideas, that would be great.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2013 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    What are the dimensions of the plates? What are they made of? Do they have a voltage between them?
  4. Jul 22, 2013 #3
    The dimensions of the plate, (10mmx 10mm) and made from very flat and polished Si wafers. No voltage between them but I understand van dew Waal interactions is an issue at those lengths?
  5. Jul 23, 2013 #4


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    Gold Member

    Could you put some nano-particles between the plates to keep them seperated.
  6. Jul 23, 2013 #5


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    Does the gap have to be air?

    I was thinking a film of thin oil but it turns out they tend to be microns or 10s of microns thick so no good for this.
  7. Jul 24, 2013 #6


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    Presumably the gap needs to be maintained in the face of potential disturbances, so there is already a need for some distance adjustment mechanism.
    Afaik, the steppers for lithography offer positioning to a few nanometers, so presumably one could measure the gap continuously and adjust as needed, probably with a capacitance based gap measuring technique. One issue would be keeping the plates parallel.
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