Beam pen lithography

Journal name:
Nature Nanotechnology
Volume:
5,
Pages:
637–640
Year published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/nnano.2010.161
Received
Accepted
Published online

Abstract

Lithography techniques are currently being developed to fabricate nanoscale components for integrated circuits, medical diagnostics and optoelectronics1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. In conventional far-field optical lithography, lateral feature resolution is diffraction-limited8. Approaches that overcome the diffraction limit have been developed9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, but these are difficult to implement or they preclude arbitrary pattern formation. Techniques based on near-field scanning optical microscopy can overcome the diffraction limit, but they suffer from inherently low throughput and restricted scan areas15, 16, 17. Highly parallel two-dimensional, silicon-based, near-field scanning optical microscopy aperture arrays have been fabricated18, but aligning a non-deformable aperture array to a large-area substrate with near-field proximity remains challenging. However, recent advances in lithographies based on scanning probe microscopy have made use of transparent two-dimensional arrays of pyramid-shaped elastomeric tips (or ‘pens’) for large-area, high-throughput patterning of ink molecules19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Here, we report a massively parallel scanning probe microscopy-based approach that can generate arbitrary patterns by passing 400-nm light through nanoscopic apertures at each tip in the array. The technique, termed beam pen lithography, can toggle between near- and far-field distances, allowing both sub-diffraction limit (100 nm) and larger features to be generated.

At a glance

Figures

  1. Fabrication of a beam pen array.
    Figure 1: Fabrication of a beam pen array.

    a, Schematic of the steps involved in fabricating a BPL tip array. b, SEM images of a BPL pen array in which the aperture (diameter, 50 ± 5 nm, inset) is fabricated by FIB. c, BPL pen array, where the aperture size is controlled by the amount of force made with an adhesive PMMA surface, as shown in a. Pen arrays as large as several square centimetres can be fabricated by this approach, where the size of the aperture can be controlled between 500 nm and 5 µm, simply by controlling the extent to which the beam pen array contacts the PMMA.

  2. Large-area patterning and sub-diffraction limit features.
    Figure 2: Large-area patterning and sub-diffraction limit features.

    a, Schematic of BPL, where transparent polymer tips are coated with an opaque metal layer (gold) except at the end of the tips. In this way, light only exposes a light-sensitive photoresist-coated surface at the tip. b, SEM image of a chromium dot array created by BPL arrays (after metal evaporation and photoresist lift-off), in which the apertures were fabricated by FIB. Each feature diameter is 111 ± 11 nm. c, Optical microscopy image of gold dot arrays made by BPL (after metal evaporation and photoresist lift-off), in which the apertures were made by controlling the force between the beam pen array and an adhesive surface. d, Magnified SEM image of c, showing a 10 × 10 gold dot array made by one tip in the beam pen array after metal evaporation and photoresist lift-off.

  3. Arbitrary pattern fabrication capability.
    Figure 3: Arbitrary pattern fabrication capability.

    a, Optical microscopy image of developed photoresist patterns showing a representative region of ~15,000 duplicates of a Chicago skyline pattern. b, Magnified optical microscopy image of the gold Chicago skyline pattern after metal evaporation and photoresist lift-off. The inset shows a magnified scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of the gold features, which have diameters of 450 ± 70 nm.

  4. Orthogonal levels of patterning control provided by macroscale addressability of pens.
    Figure 4: Orthogonal levels of patterning control provided by macroscale addressability of pens.

    a, Optical microscopy image of ‘NU’ patterns generated by each tip. The inset shows a magnified SEM image of one pattern. Feature diameter, 430 ± 80 nm. b, SEM image showing the macroscale selective illumination of the beam pen array with a mask in the shape of a ‘U’ pattern as well as the nanoscale arbitrary pattern generation from each tip (small ‘NU’ patterns). The inset is a schematic of pen addressability.

References

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Author information

  1. These authors contributed equally to this work

    • Fengwei Huo &
    • Gengfeng Zheng

Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemistry, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3113, USA

    • Fengwei Huo,
    • Gengfeng Zheng,
    • Jinan Chai,
    • Xiaodong Chen &
    • Chad A. Mirkin
  2. International Institute for Nanotechnology, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3113, USA

    • Fengwei Huo,
    • Gengfeng Zheng,
    • Xing Liao,
    • Louise R. Giam,
    • Jinan Chai,
    • Xiaodong Chen,
    • Wooyoung Shim &
    • Chad A. Mirkin
  3. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Northwestern University, 2145 Sheridan Road, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3113, USA

    • Xing Liao,
    • Louise R. Giam,
    • Wooyoung Shim &
    • Chad A. Mirkin
  4. Present address: School of Materials Science and Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798 (F.H. and X.C.); Laboratory of Advanced Materials & Department of Chemistry, Fudan University, 2205 Song-Hu Road, Shanghai, China, 200438 (G.Z.)

    • Fengwei Huo,
    • Gengfeng Zheng &
    • Xiaodong Chen

Contributions

F.H. and G.Z. contributed equally to this work in designing and performing the experiments, analysing the results and drafting the manuscript. X.L., L.R.G., J.C., X.C. and W.S. also performed experiments and helped with revisions. C.A.M. helped design the experiments, analyse the results, and draft the manuscript.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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