IBM researchers have come up with a heated silicon atomic force microscope tip that can etch 3-D patterns on coated surfaces down to 15-nm feature sizes, breaking the 30-nm-resolution barrier of current industrial patterning techniques (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1187851). The scanning-probe nanolithography method could allow scientists to fabricate ever smaller and more precise computer chips and other microelectronic devices. Led by Armin W. Knoll of IBM’s research center in Zurich, the researchers attached the tiny silicon AFM tip to a cantilever and then used the tip to scan a resist composed of a thin organic molecular glass. The hydrogen bonds that help create the material’s glassy state are weak enough to be broken when the tip is heated. The team demonstrated the technique’s power by creating a 25-nm-tall 3-D replica of Switzerland’s famous 14,692-foot Matterhorn.