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Advances in Direct-Write Nanoscale Deposition and Patterning

J. Haaheim, N. Amro, J. Bussan, E. Solheim, V. Val, J. Fragala, M. Nelson
NanoInk, US

Keywords: dip pen nanolithography, array leveling, automation


Scanning Probe Lithography (SPL) has witnessed a dramatic transformation with the advent of two dimensional probe arrays. Whereas early work with single probes was justifiably assessed as being too slow to practically apply in a nanomanufacturing context, we have recently demonstrated throughputs up to 3×10^7 µm^2 per hour – in some cases exceeding e-beam lithography (EBL) – using 2D probe arrays tailored for Dip Pen Nanolithography® (DPN®). However, a fundamental technical barrier to implementation has been the challenge of leveling; in order to generate large areas of homogenous nanopatterns, all tips need to be touching down uniformly on the substrate with equivalent force, and this requires extreme planarity between the tips and the substrate. We have previously demonstrated a passive self-leveling fixture for 2D arrays capable of achieving planarity of <0.1° with respect to the substrate; we now present a fully automated active force-sensing system capable of leveling 1D arrays to within ±0.01° of the substrate, with 2D arrays achieving ±0.0003°. We will discuss the modular hardware and software that enables these capabilities, in addition to detailing the leveling methods. We will provide data on repeatability, while providing secondary verification of levelness via highly homogeneous (low CV) DPN patterning results. Finally, we will discuss the DPN applications enabled by these fundamental capabilities, including adaptive non-laser-based force feedback for all printing operations.
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