High-resolution fabrication of nanopatterns by multistep iterative miniaturization of hot-embossed prestressed polymer films and constrained shrinking Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • AbstractThe fabrication of nanostructures and nanopatterns is of crucial importance in microelectronics, nanofluidics, and the manufacture of biomedical devices and biosensors. However, the creation of nanopatterns by means of conventional nanofabrication techniques such as electron beam lithography is expensive and time-consuming. Here, we develop a multistep miniaturization approach using prestressed polymer films to generate nanopatterns from microscale patterns without the need of complex nanolithography methods. Prestressed polymer films have been used as a miniaturization technique to fabricate features with a smaller size than the initial imprinted features. However, the height of the imprinted features is significantly reduced after the thermal shrinking of the prestressed films due to the shape memory effect of the polymer, and as a result, the topographical features tend to disappear after shrinking. We have developed a miniaturization approach that controls the material flow and maintains the shrunken patterns by applying mechanical constraints during the shrinking process. The combination of hot embossing and constrained shrinking makes it possible to reduce the size of the initial imprinted features even to the nanoscale. The developed multistep miniaturization approach allows using the shrunken pattern as a master for a subsequent miniaturization cycle. Well-defined patterns as small as 100 nm are fabricated, showing a 10-fold reduction in size from the original master. The developed approach also allows the transfer of the shrunken polymeric patterns to a silicon substrate, which can be used as a functional substrate for many applications or directly as a master for nanoimprint lithography.

publication date

  • December 2022