Applications of excimer laser in nanofabrication

Qiangfei Xia, Stephen Y. Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This paper addresses novel applications of an excimer laser (308 nm wavelength, 20 ns pulse duration) in nanofabrication. Specifically, laser assisted nanoimprint lithography (LAN), self-perfection by liquefaction (SPEL), fabrication of metal nanoparticle arrays, and the fabrication of sub-10-nm nanofluidic channels are covered. In LAN, a polymeric resist is melted by the laser pulse, and then imprinted with a fused silica mold within 200 ns. LAN has been demonstrated in patterning various polymer nanostructures on different substrates with high fidelity and uniformity, and negligible heat effect on both the mold and the substrate. SPEL is a novel technology that uses selective melting to remove fabrication defects in nanostructures post fabrication. Depending on the boundary conditions, SPEL is categorized into three basic types: Open-SPEL that takes place with surface open, Capped-SPEL where a cap plate holds the top surface of the nanostructures and Guided-SPEL where a plate held a distance above the structure guides the molten materials to rise and form a new structure with better profile. Using SPEL (in less than 200 ns), we have achieved a reduction of line edge roughness (LER) of Cr lines to 1.5 nm (3σ) (560% improvement from the original), which is well below what the previous technologies permit, and a dramatic increase of the aspect ratio of a nanostructure. We have used SPEL to make sub-25-nm smooth cylindrical NIL pillar molds and smoothing Si waveguides. Excimer laser is also used to make metal nanoparticles. Monolayers of particles are fabricated on various substrates (silicon, fused silica and plastics) by exposing thin metal films to a single laser pulse. Periodic nanoparticle arrays have been fabricated by fragmentation of metal grating lines. The periodicity of these nanoparticles can be regulated by surface topography such as shallow trenches. Finally, an excimer laser pulse has been used to melt the top portion of 1D and 2D Si gratings to seal off the top surface, forming enclosed nanofluidic channel arrays. The channel width has been further reduced to 9 nm using self-limited thermal oxidation. DNA stretching using 20 nm wide self-sealed channels is also demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-59
Number of pages51
JournalApplied Physics A: Materials Science and Processing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science


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