Great fleas have little fleas
upon their back to bite 'em.
And little fleas have lesser fleas,
and so ad infinitum.
- Augustus De Morgan
"If you're going to manipulate small things, you need small
tools," says Keith Jackson. To build those, you have to start
with tools that are a lot bigger.
Jackson, a physicist in the Materials Sciences Division's Center
for X-Ray Optics (CXRO), heads the LIGA facility at the Advanced
Light Source. LIGA (a German acronym for lithography, electroplating,
and molding) burns patterns deep into a Plexiglas resist with hard
x-rays; the resists are electroplated, then chemically removed,
leaving master molds or individual devices-real 3-D machines and
parts, not flat pieces like typical integrated circuits.