Nanolithography techniques are important for the fabrication of leading edge semiconductor integrated circuits and other electronic and mechanical devices and systems.
The thermochemical nanolithography technique developed by COPE researchers uses an atomic force microscope (AFM) to heat a silicon tip and run it over a thin polymer film. The heat from the tip induces a chemical reaction at the surface of the film. This reaction changes the film’s chemical reactivity and transforms it from a hydrophobic substance to a hydrophilic one that can stick to other molecules. The technique is extremely fast and can write at speeds faster than millimeters per second. That’s orders of magnitude faster than the widely used dip-pen nanolithography (DPN), which routinely clocks at a speed of 0.0001 millimeters per second.
Thermochemical nanolithography may allow industry to produce a variety of nanopatterned structures, including nanocircuits for applications in fields ranging from the electronics industry to nanofluidics to medicine.