The role of viscosity on polymer ink transport in dip-pen nanolithography.

TitleThe role of viscosity on polymer ink transport in dip-pen nanolithography.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLiu G, Zhou Y, Banga RS, Boya R, Brown KA, Chipre AJ, Nguyen ST, Mirkin CA
JournalChemical science (Royal Society of Chemistry : 2010)
Date Published2013 May 1

Understanding how ink transfers to a surface in dip-pen nanolithography (DPN) is crucial for designing new ink materials and developing the processes to pattern them. Herein, we investigate the transport of block copolymer inks with varying viscosities, from an atomic force microscope (AFM) tip to a substrate. The size of the patterned block copolymer features was determined to increase with dwell time and decrease with ink viscosity. A mass transfer model is proposed to describe this behaviour, which is fundamentally different from small molecule transport mechanisms due to entanglement of the polymeric chains. The fundamental understanding developed here provides mechanistic insight into the transport of large polymer molecules, and highlights the importance of ink viscosity in controlling the DPN process. Given the ubiquity of polymeric materials in semiconducting nanofabrication, organic electronics, and bioengineering applications, this study could provide an avenue for DPN to expand its role in these fields.

Alternate JournalChem Sci