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Nano Lett. 2018 Dec 12;18(12):8011-8015. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b04166. Epub 2018 Dec 3.

Electrode-Free Anodic Oxidation Nanolithography of Low-Dimensional Materials.

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Key Laboratory of Artificial Structures and Quantum Control (Ministry of Education), School of Physics and Astronomy , Shanghai Jiao Tong University , Shanghai 200240 , China.
Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures , Nanjing 210093 , China.
National Institute for Materials Science , 1-1 Namiki , Tsukuba 305-0044 , Japan.


Scanning probe lithography based on local anodic oxidation (LAO) provides a robust and general nanolithography tool for a wide range of applications. Its practical use, however, has been strongly hampered due to the requirement of a prefabricated microelectrode to conduct the driving electrical current. Here we report a novel electrode-free LAO technique, which enables in situ patterning of as-prepared low-dimensional materials and heterostructures with great flexibility and high precision. Unlike conventional LAO driven by a direct current, the electrode-free LAO is driven by a high-frequency (>10 kHz) alternating current applied through capacitive coupling, which eliminates the need of a contacting electrode and can be used even for tailoring insulating materials. Using this technique, we demonstrated flexible nanolithography of graphene, hexagonal boron nitride, and carbon nanotubes on insulating substrates with ∼10-nanometer precision. In addition, the electrode-free LAO exhibits high etching quality without oxide residues left. Such an in situ and electrode-free nanolithography with high etching quality opens up new opportunities for fabricating ultraclean nanoscale devices and heterostructures with great flexibility.


Scanning probe lithography; electrode-free local anodic oxidation; graphene; high-frequency ac voltage; low-dimensional materials

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