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Double-Sided Opportunities Using Chemical Lift-Off Lithography.

  • Author(s): Andrews, Anne M
  • Liao, Wei-Ssu
  • Weiss, Paul S
  • et al.

We discuss the origins, motivation, invention, development, applications, and future of chemical lift-off lithography, in which a specified pattern of a self-assembled monolayer is removed, i.e., lifted off, using a reactive, patterned stamp that is brought into contact with the monolayer. For Au substrates, this process produces a supported, patterned monolayer of Au on the stamp in addition to the negative pattern in the original molecular monolayer. Both the patterned molecular monolayer on the original substrate and the patterned supported metal monolayer on the stamp are useful as materials and for further applications in sensing and other areas. Chemical lift-off lithography effectively lowers the barriers to and costs of high-resolution, large-area nanopatterning. On the patterned monolayer side, features in the single-nanometer range can be produced across large (square millimeter or larger) areas. Patterns smaller than the original stamp feature sizes can be produced by controlling the degree of contact between the stamp and the lifted-off monolayer. We note that this process is different than conventional lift-off processes in lithography in that chemical lift-off lithography removes material, whereas conventional lift-off is a positive-tone patterning method. Chemical lift-off lithography is in some ways similar to microtransfer printing. Chemical lift-off lithography has critical advantages in the preparation of biocapture surfaces because the molecules left behind are exploited to space and to orient functional(ized) molecules. On the supported metal monolayer side, a new two-dimensional material has been produced. The useful important chemical properties of Au (vis-à-vis functionalization with thiols) are retained, but the electronic and optical properties of bulk Au or even Au nanoparticles are not. These metal monolayers do not quench excitation and may be useful in optical measurements, particularly in combination with selective binding due to attached molecular recognition elements. In contrast to materials such as graphene that have bonding confined to two dimensions, these metal monolayers can be straightforwardly patterned-by patterning the stamp, the initial monolayer, or the initial substrate. Well-developed thiol-Au and related chemistries can be used on the supported monolayers. As there is little quenching and photoabsorption, spectroscopic imaging methods can be used on these functionalized materials. We anticipate that the properties of the metal monolayers can be tuned by varying the chemical, physical, and electronic connections made by and to the supporting molecular layers. That is, the amount of charge in the layer can be determined by controlling the density of S-Au (or other) connections and the molecular backbone and functionality, which determine the strength with which the chemical contact withdraws charge from the metal. This process should work for other coinage-metal substrates and additional systems where the binding of the outermost layers to the substrate is weaker than the molecule-substrate attachment.

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