Hi everyone,
I am a PhD student in nanotechonology who is looking to create (what seems like) a simple programme to write small structures onto surfaces. The problem is I have no idea where to start so was wondering if someone might give me a little advice.

So basically I use a techniques called ‘scanning near-field optical lithography’ which is where you get a metal tip with a laser on the end and use it to ‘write’ structures onto a surface. We can use to draw very small lines on a surface i.e. between 10-200 nm in width.
Here are some pictures of some of the structures that have been written with this technique


Anyway to define which shape of the strutcure we want to write we currently have to get graph paper, draw the structure and work out the coordinates and type them in to create the code for the instrument software. This is OK for simple structures such as lines but ideally we would like to draw more complex things (like writing my name for example or drawing a tiny cat)
To give you some example of the code that we use, to draw a square which is 25 microns in size you would write ..

SS 30
MR 25.0,0.0
MR 0.0,25.0
MR -25.0,0.0
MR 0.0,-25.0

With 'IT on and off' starting writing, SS being the speed that you would like the tip to move, MR (x.y) (move relative) followed by the coordinates that the tip should move to.

I am wondering if there could be a simpler way to do this. Ideally if I could write a programme like MS paint where you could draw a structure, define the speed that tip should go and from that give you the code that you copy into the instrument software, that would be great. If not maybe just a programme which you draw a structure and it gives the coordinates in XY and then you could use that to write the code, doing away with the need for graph paper. Anyway so yes could anyone give me some advice on where to start with this project?