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Nat Nanotechnol. 2009 Oct;4(10):664-8. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2009.254. Epub 2009 Sep 6.

Thermochemical nanopatterning of organic semiconductors.

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London Centre for Nanotechnology, 17-19 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AH, UK.


Patterning of semiconducting polymers on surfaces is important for various applications in nanoelectronics and nanophotonics. However, many of the approaches to nanolithography that are used to pattern inorganic materials are too harsh for organic semiconductors, so research has focused on optical patterning and various soft lithographies. Surprisingly little attention has been paid to thermal, thermomechanical and thermochemical patterning. Here, we demonstrate thermochemical nanopatterning of poly(p-phenylene vinylene), a widely used electroluminescent polymer, by a scanning probe. We produce patterned structures with dimensions below 28 nm, although the tip of the probe has a diameter of 5 microm, and achieve write speeds of 100 microm s(-1). Experiments show that a resolution of 28 nm is possible when the tip-sample contact region has dimensions of approximately 100 nm and, on the basis of finite-element modelling, we predict that the resolution could be improved by using a thinner resist layer and an optimized probe. Thermochemical lithography offers a versatile, reliable and general nanopatterning technique because a large number of optical materials, including many commercial crosslinker additives and photoresists, rely on chemical mechanisms that can also be thermally activated.


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