Micro- and Nanopatterning of Inorganic and Polymeric Substrates by Indentation Lithography

The Whitesides Group at Harvard University and CSM Instruments published an nanotech article on complex 3D-nano patterns with Indentation Lithography (IndL) and piezo technology. The paper describes the use of a nanoindenter, equipped with a diamond tip, to form patterns of indentations on planar substrates (epoxy, silicon, and SiO2). The indentations have the form of pits and furrows, whose cross-sectional profiles are determined by the shapes of the diamond indenters, and whose dimensions are determined by the applied load and hardness of the substrate.

The precise shape of the patterns was achieved with a PI (Physik Instrumente) P-733.2CD piezo nanopositioning scanning stage, which was mounted directly on the Open Platform and allows sub-nanometer positioning resolution in the X and Y axes.

Micro- and Nanopatterning of Inorganic and Polymeric Substrates by Indentation Lithography

3D-Nano Patterns with Indentation Lithography Paper Abstract

The paper describes the use of a nanoindenter, equipped with a diamond tip, to form patterns of indentations on planar substrates (epoxy, silicon, and SiO2). The process is called “Indentation Lithography” (IndL). The indentations have the form of pits and furrows, whose cross-sectional profiles are determined by the shapes of the diamond indenters, and whose dimensions are determined by the applied load and hardness of the substrate. IndL makes it possible to indent hard materials, to produce patterns with multiple levels of relief by changing the loading force, and to control the profiles of the indentations by using indenters with different shapes. The paper also demonstrates the transfer of indented patterns to elastomeric PDMS stamps for soft lithography, and to thin films of evaporated gold or silver. Stripping an evaporated film from an indented template produces patterns of gold or silver pyramids, whose tips concentrate electric fields. Patterns produced by IndL can thus be used as substrates for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) and for other plasmonic applications.

More info: Indentation Lithography Enables Complex 3D-Nano Patterns (pdf)