The increasing demands in nanoscale grating and channel structures in bio-, optical, and data storage industries have stimulated many emerging technologies such as laser interference lithography, nano ruling, and nanoimprint lithography. Among them, roll-to-roll based nanoimprint lithography (R2RNIL) provides greatly enhanced throughput while keeping resolution inherent to NIL. However, R2RNIL process still requires thermal or UV curing steps that are not compatible with many functional polymers and can damage bio- or sensitive organic materials. More over, creating large area continuous pattern requires the same size original mold and the imprinted patterns are not truly continuous due to the presence of seam region where the two ends of the flexible mold meets on the roller.
University of Michigan researchers have developed a nanofabrication technique, named Dynamic Nano Inscribing (DNI). This procedure enables creating truly continuous nanograting patterns in a variety of metal or polymer materials, with line width down to 70 nm, at extremely high speed (~10 cm/ sec) at ambient environment). The method is applicable on various polymers, metals, or even hard materials. The method can be used to create infinitely long and continuous nano or micro grooves in straight or free curve. In addition, the gentle nature of the method makes it very attractive for patterning nanostructures in materials that are sensitive to heat, UV radiation, or chemical treatment on a variety of substrates.
Applications and Advantages
- Rapid, reel-to-reel process technology for patterning conductive polymers
- Simple, low-cost, and parallel fabrication
- Does not require chemical further processing steps
- Preserves functionality of conductive polymers
- Fully compatible for patterning on flexible substrate