With nanotechnology becoming widely used, many applications such as plasmonics, sensors, storage devices, solar
cells, nano-filtration and artificial kidneys require the structures with large areas of uniform periodic nanopatterns. Most
of the current nano-manufacturing techniques, including photolithography, electron-beam lithography, and focal ion
beam milling, are either slow or expensive to be applied into the areas. Here, we demonstrate an alternative and novel
lithography technique - Nanosphere Photolithography (NSP) - that generates a large area of highly uniform periodic
nanoholes or nanoposts by utilizing the monolayer of hexagonally close packed (HCP) silica microspheres as super-lenses
on top of photoresist. The size of the nanopatterns generated is almost independent of the sphere sizes and hence
extremely uniform patterns can be obtained. We demonstrate that the method can produce hexagonally packed arrays of
hole of sub-250 nm size in positive photoresist using a conventional exposure system with a broadband UV source
centered at 400 nm. We also show a large area of highly uniform gold nanoholes (~180 nm) and nanoposts (~300nm)
array with the period of 1 μm fabricated by the combination of lift-off and NSP. The process is not limited to gold.
Similar structures have been shown with aluminum and silicon dioxide layer. The period and size of the structures can
also be tuned by changing proper parameters. The technique applying self-assembled and focusing properties of micro-/nano-spheres into photolithography establishes a new paradigm for mask-less photolithography technique, allowing
rapid and economical creation of large areas of periodic nanostructures with a high throughput.