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3 January 2006 Lithography of diamond-like-carbon (DLC) films for use as masters in soft-lithography
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Micron sized structures/components are commonly employed in a variety of devices (e.g., biosensors, array devices). At present such devices are based on macroscopic technologies. Future applications of differentiated structures/surfaces are expected to place considerable demands on down-sizing technologies, i.e. enable meso/nanoscopic manipulation. An emerging set of methods known collectively as soft lithography is now being utilised for a large variety of applications including micromolding, microfluidic networks and microcontact printing. In particular stamps and elastomeric elements can be formed by transfer of a pattern to a polymer by a master. The 'master' can be fabricated by a variety of techniques capable of producing well-defined surface topographies. Established lithographic techniques used in the microelectronic industry, such as photolithography, are generally used to fabricate such master templates at the micron scale. A number of polymers can be used to transfer patterns. One of the most widely used polymers for pattern transfer has been polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The elastomer is chemically resistant, has a low surface energy and readily conforms to different surface topographies. Obtaining a master is the limiting factor in the production of PDMS replicas. In this study we demonstrate the use of Diamond-Like-Carbon (DLC) as a master template for producing PDMS micro/nano stamps and 3 dimensional PDMS structures. Intricate surface relief patterns were formed on the DLC surface from lithographic techniques by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) operated in the electrical conductivity mode. Attributes of the technique include: -Features with line widths less than 20 nm can be formed on the DLC. -The radius of curvature at edges can be less than 10 nm. -The slope of the features is limited by the aspect ratio of the tip. -Highly complex shapes can be fashioned. -Feature depth can be controlled by DLC film thickness and/or by the bias voltage applied. -The master is highly durable. -The master relief after patterning is extremely flat.
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Gregory S. Watson, Sverre Myhra, and Jolanta A. Watson "Lithography of diamond-like-carbon (DLC) films for use as masters in soft-lithography", Proc. SPIE 6037, Device and Process Technologies for Microelectronics, MEMS, and Photonics IV, 60371C (3 January 2006);

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