By analysing the shape and morphology of the material removed during channel fabrication, the channel profile was shown to vary on the scale of a tenth of a second, far too slow for a liquid rearrangement. Therefore, there is no liquid at the tip/substrate interaction region, but only an aggregate that behaves as a solid-like structure. The results show conclusively that, because water behaves as an ice-like material at these dimensions, only gas can be transported in 10 nm radius structures.

The fabricated channels could be used to pattern micro-fluidic chips because they are stable under fixed temperature and humidity. A three-dimensional view of a fabricated grating together with a schematic diagram of the nanochannel formation process are shown in the image.

A full discussion of the results can be found in the journal Nanotechnology.