Metal nanowire fabrication has drawn tremendous attention in recent years due to its wide application in electronics, optoelectronics, and plasmonics. However, conventional laser fabrication technologies are limited by diffraction limit thus the fabrication resolution cannot meet the increasingly high demand of modern devices. Herein we report on a novel method for high-resolution high-quality metal nanowire fabrication by using Hermite-Gaussian beam to ablate metal thin film. The nanowire is formed due to the intensity valley in the center of the laser beam while the surrounding film is ablated. Arbitrary nanowire can be generated on the substrate by dynamically adjusting the orientation of the intensity valley. This method shows obvious advantages compared to conventional methods. First, the minimum nanowire has a width of ~60 nm (≈1/13 of the laser wavelength), which is much smaller than the diffraction limit. The high resolution is achieved by combining the ultrashort nature of the femtosecond laser and the low thermal conductivity of the thin film. In addition, the fabricated nanowires have good inside qualities. No inner nanopores and particle intervals are generated inside the nanowire, thus endowing the nanowire with good electronic characteristics: the conductivity of the nanowires is as high as 1.2×107 S/m (≈1/4 of buck material), and the maximum current density is up to 1.66×108 A/m2. Last, the nanowire has a good adhesion to the substrates, which can withstand ultrasonic bath for a long time. These advantages make our method a good approach for high-resolution high-quality nanowire fabrication as a complementary method to conventional lithography methods.
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