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Nanotechnology. 2017 Feb 3;28(5):055302. doi: 10.1088/1361-6528/28/5/055302. Epub 2016 Dec 23.

16 nm-resolution lithography using ultra-small-gap bowtie apertures.

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1
Micro and Nano Engineering Lab, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei City, Anhui Province 230026, People's Republic of China.

Abstract

Photolithography has long been a critical technology for nanoscale manufacturing, especially in the semiconductor industry. However, the diffractive nature of light has limited the continuous advance of optical lithography resolution. To overcome this obstacle, near-field scanning optical lithography (NSOL) is an alternative low-cost technique, whose resolution is determined by the near-field localization that can be achieved. Here, we apply the newly-developed backside milling method to fabricate bowtie apertures with a sub-15 nm gap, which can substantially improve the resolution of NSOL.  A highly confined electric near field is produced by localized surface plasmon excitation and nanofocusing of the closely-tapered gap. We show contact lithography results with a record 16 nm resolution (FWHM). This photolithography scheme promises potential applications in data storage, high-speed computation, energy harvesting, and other nanotechnology areas.

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