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Nature. 2009 Feb 12;457(7231):868-72. doi: 10.1038/nature07718.

Nanomoulding with amorphous metals.

Author information

1
Mechanical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511, USA.

Abstract

Nanoimprinting promises low-cost fabrication of micro- and nano-devices by embossing features from a hard mould onto thermoplastic materials, typically polymers with low glass transition temperature. The success and proliferation of such methods critically rely on the manufacturing of robust and durable master moulds. Silicon-based moulds are brittle and have limited longevity. Metal moulds are stronger than semiconductors, but patterning of metals on the nanometre scale is limited by their finite grain size. Amorphous metals (metallic glasses) exhibit superior mechanical properties and are intrinsically free from grain size limitations. Here we demonstrate direct nanopatterning of metallic glasses by hot embossing, generating feature sizes as small as 13 nm. After subsequently crystallizing the as-formed metallic glass mould, we show that another amorphous sample of the same alloy can be formed on the crystallized mould. In addition, metallic glass replicas can also be used as moulds for polymers or other metallic glasses with lower softening temperatures. Using this 'spawning' process, we can massively replicate patterned surfaces through direct moulding without using conventional lithography. We anticipate that our findings will catalyse the development of micro- and nanoscale metallic glass applications that capitalize on the outstanding mechanical properties, microstructural homogeneity and isotropy, and ease of thermoplastic forming exhibited by these materials.

PMID:
19212407
DOI:
10.1038/nature07718

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