Dr. Colin Rawlings' research interests are scanning probe microscopy and modelling magnetic materials.
Colin originally joined IBM Research – Zurich in 2007 as a student intern under the supervision of Drs. Dorothea Weismann and Haris Pozidis. He returned in 2013 as a Post-Doctorate Research Fellow in the Probe Nanopatterning group of Dr. Urs Duerig. His research is funded by the European Union under the FP7 project "Single Nanometer Manufacturing for beyond CMOS Devices."
In this project, the ability of a heated atomic force microscope tip to locally evaporate a thin polymer layer is being examined. The pattern in this polymer layer can be used to define the geometry of electrical devices, such as transistors, using standard lithography techniques.
This patterning approach is particularly well suited to performing the precise overlay of consecutive patterning steps during device fabrication. This overlay process has been implemented in a home-made probe lithography system. Work is currently underway to understand the practical and theoretical limitations on the overlay accuracy. In the near future it is hoped that this technique can be applied to the study of fundamental physical phenomena.
Colin received his PhD degree in Engineering from the University of Cambridge, UK, in 2012 for his dissertation entitled "Using a Magnetic Microscope to Design Nanomagnetic Systems" under the supervision of Dr. Colm Durkan and Professor Mark Welland. The project sought to resolve the two principle challenges encountered when using a force microscope equipped with a magnetic tip: image interpretation and quantitative measurement. It also comprised developing and implementing an efficient method for quantifying the tip–sample interaction using the finite element method. The model was subsequently validated experimentally.