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Concept: Photolithography


The morphological change of silicon macropore arrays formed by metal-assisted chemical etching using shape-controlled Au thin film arrays was investigated during anisotropic chemical etching in tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) aqueous solution. After the deposition of Au as the etching catalyst on (111) silicon through a honeycomb mask prepared by sphere lithography, the specimens were etched in a mixed solution of HF and H2O2 at room temperature, resulting in the formation of ordered macropores in silicon along the [111] direction, which is not achievable by conventional chemical etching without a catalyst. In the anisotropic etching in TMAH, the macropores changed from being circular to being hexagonal and finally to being triangular, owing to the difference in etching rate between the crystal planes.

Concepts: Concentration, Chemistry, Solubility, Solutions, Quartz, Photolithography, Etching, Tetramethylammonium hydroxide


To pattern electrical metal contacts, electron beam lithography or photolithography are commonly utilized, and these processes require polymer resists with solvents. During the patterning process the graphene surface is exposed to chemicals, and the residue on the graphene surface was unable to be completely removed by any method, causing the graphene layer to be contaminated. A lithography free method can overcome these residue problems. In this study, we use a micro-grid as a shadow mask to fabricate a graphene based field-effect-transistor (FET). Electrical measurements of the graphene based FET samples are carried out in air and vacuum. It is found that the Dirac peaks of the graphene devices on SiO2 or on hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) shift from a positive gate voltage region to a negative region as air pressure decreases. In particular, the Dirac peaks shift very rapidly when the pressure decreases from ~2 × 10(-3) Torr to ~5 × 10(-5) Torr within 5 minutes. These Dirac peak shifts are known as adsorption and desorption of environmental gases, but the shift amounts are considerably different depending on the fabrication process. The high gas sensitivity of the device fabricated by shadow mask is attributed to adsorption on the clean graphene surface.

Concepts: Electron, Pressure, Gas, Pascal, Photolithography, Vacuum, Electron beam lithography, Boron nitride


Heavily boron-doped silicon layers and boron etch-stop techniques have been widely used in the fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). This paper provides an introduction to the fabrication process of nanoscale silicon thermoelectric devices. Low-dimensional structures such as silicon nanowire (SiNW) have been considered as a promising alternative for thermoelectric applications in order to achieve a higher thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT) than bulk silicon. Here, heavily boron-doped silicon layers and boron etch-stop processes for the fabrication of suspended SiNWs will be discussed in detail, including boron diffusion, electron beam lithography, inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etching and tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) etch-stop processes. A 7 μm long nanowire structure with a height of 280 nm and a width of 55 nm was achieved, indicating that the proposed technique is useful for nanoscale fabrication. Furthermore, a SiNW thermoelectric device has also been demonstrated, and its performance shows an obvious reduction in thermal conductivity.

Concepts: Nanotechnology, Microelectromechanical systems, Photolithography, Thermoelectric effect, Electron beam lithography, Tetramethylammonium hydroxide, Thermoelectric cooling, Dry etching


Microneedle devices for transdermal drug delivery have recently become an attractive method to overcome the diffusion-limiting epidermis and effectively transport therapeutics to the body. Here, we demonstrate the fabrication of highly reproducible and completely dissolvable polymer microneedles on flexible water-soluble substrates. These biocompatible microneedles (made using a soft lithography process known as PRINT) showed efficacy in piercing both murine and human skin samples and delivering a fluorescent drug surrogate to the tissue.

Concepts: Scientific method, Pharmacology, Medicine, Transdermal patch, Skin, Photolithography, Polydimethylsiloxane, Lithography


Patterning materials efficiently at the smallest length scales is a longstanding challenge in nanotechnology. Electron-beam lithography (EBL) is the primary method for patterning arbitrary features, but EBL has not reliably provided sub-4 nanometer patterns. The few competing techniques that have achieved this resolution are orders of magnitude slower than EBL. In this work, we employed an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope for lithography to achieve unprecedented resolution. Here we show aberration-corrected EBL at the one nanometer length scale using poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), and have produced both the smallest isolated feature in any conventional resist (1.7 ± 0.5 nm) and the highest density patterns in PMMA (10.7 nm pitch for negative-tone and 17.5 nm pitch for positive-tone PMMA). We also demonstrate pattern transfer from the resist to semiconductor and metallic materials at the sub-5 nanometer scale. These results indicate that polymer-based nanofabrication can achieve features sizes comparable to the Kuhn length of PMMA and ten times smaller than its radius of gyration. Use of aberration-corrected EBL will increase the resolution, speed, and complexity in nanomaterial fabrication.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Orders of magnitude, Nanotechnology, Scanning tunneling microscope, Photolithography, Electron beam lithography, Lithography


Photolithography is an important manufacturing process that relies on using photoresists, typically polymer formulations, that change solubility when illuminated with ultraviolet light. Here, we introduce a general chemical approach for photoresist-free, direct optical lithography of functional inorganic nanomaterials. The patterned materials can be metals, semiconductors, oxides, magnetic, or rare earth compositions. No organic impurities are present in the patterned layers, which helps achieve good electronic and optical properties. The conductivity, carrier mobility, dielectric, and luminescence properties of optically patterned layers are on par with the properties of state-of-the-art solution-processed materials. The ability to directly pattern all-inorganic layers by using a light exposure dose comparable with that of organic photoresists provides an alternate route for thin-film device manufacturing.

Concepts: Oxygen, Ultraviolet, Optics, Optical fiber, Chemical substance, Integrated circuit, Materials science, Photolithography


As sensors, wireless communication devices, personal health monitoring systems, and autonomous microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) become distributed and smaller, there is an increasing demand for miniaturized integrated power sources. Although thin-film batteries are well-suited for on-chip integration, their energy and power per unit area are limited. Three-dimensional electrode designs have potential to offer much greater power and energy per unit area; however, efforts to date to realize 3D microbatteries have led to prototypes with solid electrodes (and therefore low power) or mesostructured electrodes not compatible with manufacturing or on-chip integration. Here, we demonstrate an on-chip compatible method to fabricate high energy density (6.5 μWh cm(-2)⋅μm(-1)) 3D mesostructured Li-ion microbatteries based on LiMnO2 cathodes, and NiSn anodes that possess supercapacitor-like power (3,600 μW cm(-2)⋅μm(-1) peak). The mesostructured electrodes are fabricated by combining 3D holographic lithography with conventional photolithography, enabling deterministic control of both the internal electrode mesostructure and the spatial distribution of the electrodes on the substrate. The resultant full cells exhibit impressive performances, for example a conventional light-emitting diode (LED) is driven with a 500-μA peak current (600-C discharge) from a 10-μm-thick microbattery with an area of 4 mm(2) for 200 cycles with only 12% capacity fade. A combined experimental and modeling study where the structural parameters of the battery are modulated illustrates the unique design flexibility enabled by 3D holographic lithography and provides guidance for optimization for a given application.

Concepts: Cathode, Battery, Rechargeable battery, Anode, Light-emitting diode, Diode, Microelectromechanical systems, Photolithography


Two-dimensional (2D) materials have been studied extensively as monolayers, vertical or lateral heterostructures. To achieve functionalization, monolayers are often patterned using soft lithography and selectively decorated with molecules. Here we demonstrate the growth of a family of 2D materials that are intrinsically patterned. We demonstrate that a monolayer of PtSe2 can be grown on a Pt substrate in the form of a triangular pattern of alternating 1T and 1H phases. Moreover, we show that, in a monolayer of CuSe grown on a Cu substrate, strain relaxation leads to periodic patterns of triangular nanopores with uniform size. Adsorption of different species at preferred pattern sites is also achieved, demonstrating that these materials can serve as templates for selective self-assembly of molecules or nanoclusters, as well as for the functionalization of the same substrate with two different species.

Concepts: Species, Demonstration, Periodic table, Pattern, Photolithography, 2D computer graphics, Monolayer, Soft lithography


Using photolithographically defined implant wires for electrical connections, we demonstrate measurement of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) patterned nanoscale electronic device on Si(100). By eliminating onerous alignment and complex lithography techniques, this approach is accessible to researchers in smaller efforts who may not have access to tools like electron beam lithography. Electrical contact to the nanodevices is achieved by implanting patterned, degenerately doped wires in the substrate using photolithography and commercial low energy ion implantation. We bring several isolated, implanted wires to within the STM scanner’s field of view where the STM can detect and smoothly draw contiguous patterns that directly overlap with implant lines for electrical connections. This overlapping provides a two-dimensional (2D) overlap interface with the 2D electron system, in contrast to many state-of-the-art methods that rely on contacting an exposed edge. After the STM pattern is phosphine dosed and overgrown with silicon, photolithography is then used again to align (≈ 160 μm)2 aluminum contact pads onto (≈ 200 μm)2 implanted areas at the ends of the wires. We present detailed results that optimize the spacing of neighboring wires while maintaining electrical isolation after heating to > 1200 °C, a step required for in situ Si surface preparation.

Concepts: Electron, Electron microscope, Pattern, Scanning tunneling microscope, Dental implant, Photolithography, Electron beam lithography, Lithography


In this paper we present a new type of simple, pneumatically actuated, soft modular robotic system that can reproduce fundamental cell behaviors observed during morphogenesis; the initial shaping stage of the living embryo. The fabrication method uses soft lithography for producing composite elastomeric hollow cubes and permanent magnets as passive docking mechanism. Actuation is achieved by controlling the internal pressurization of cubes with external micro air pumps. Our experiments show how simple soft robotic modules can serve to reproduce to great extend the overall mechanics of collective cell migration, delamination, invagination, involution, epiboly and even simple forms of self-reconfiguration. Instead of relying in complex rigid onboard docking hardware, we exploit the coordinated inflation/deflation of modules as a simple mechanism to detach/attach modules and even rearrange the spatial position of components. Our results suggest new avenues for producing inexpensive, yet functioning, synthetic morphogenetic systems and provide new tangible models of cell behavior.

Concepts: Cell, Developmental biology, Module, Metaphysics, Embryogenesis, Gastrulation, Photolithography