Materials and methods for nanolithography using scanning thermal cantilever probes

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Hua, Yueming
Henderson, Clifford L.
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This work presents the novel applications of heated AFM tip in nanolithography. Different strategies were investigated for patterning materials using heated AFM tip. New materials were developed for these new nanolithography methods. Simulation and modeling work was done to further understand the heat transfer and chemical reactions involved in the thermal writing process. The selective thermal decomposition of polymer was the first thermal patterning method we¡¯ve investigated. A couple of different sacrificial polymers were used as the writing materials. Among these materials, the cross-linked amorphous polycarbonate (CPC-IV) was the best material for this application. The effect of cross-linking density on the performance of the material was investigated. A novel 3D thermal writing technology was developed by using cross-linked polymer as the writing material. A combined method utilizing the heated cantilever probe to pattern a polymer masking layer that can serve as a template for area selective atomic layer deposition techniques was developed. Another thermal probe nanolithography method, thermal probe top surface imaging, was also developed. In this method, the heated AFM tip was used to generate functional groups on the polymer surface, and ALD was used to selectively deposit TiO2 on the surface where contains those functional groups. A new poly (hydroxyl styrene) based copolymer was developed for this method. We also investigated self assembly monolayers (SAMs) as the thermal writing material. Two different SAMs were investigated. One the APTES and the other one is THP-MPTES. We demonstrated that the APTES can be patterned using thermal AFM probe, and other materials can be selectively deposited on the patterned APTES SAMs. Thermal AFM probe was used to selectively generate thiol groups from THP-MPTES SAMs, and then use these thiol groups to guide the deposition AuNPs. Some simulation and modeling works were also done to further understand these processes. FemLab was used to analyze the heat transfer in the thermal cantilever and between the heated tip and substrate. Based on kinetics of polymer thermal decomposition, we built a simple model for the selective thermal decomposition nanolithography. The experimental results can be very well fitted by this model.
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