In this paper we report a technique that allows a fast replication of sub-100 nm scale patterns in a thin polymer film on a substrate from a patterned mask. Using the new pattern transfer technique, we fabricated 100 nm period polymer gratings with a 50 nm linewidth above a Si substrate as an example to demonstrate its capability of producing sub-100 nm nanostructures with direct industrial applications. In our technique, a mask with protruding patterns is used to induce similar pattern formation in the molten polymer film through an electrohydrodynamic instability process. A solid positive replica of the mask is obtained by cooling the polymer below its glass transition temperature. The mask is removed afterwards for the next fabrication procedure. The polymer structures formed can be used either directly as functional devices or as etching masks for further lithography processes. The mechanism that leads to the instability and subsequent pattern formation in the polymer layer is explained. Several important physical parameters that control the whole instability process are also identified. Our theory and experiments show that the pattern transfer technique developed here is well suited for the fabrication of sub-100 nm surface patterns in thin polymer films.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering