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Keywords:

  • Molding;
  • Nanolithography;
  • Polymers

Abstract

High temperature nanoimprinting of viscous polymers which are glassy at room temperature is usually performed using brittle and expensive molds made of inorganic materials. As a replacement, soft molds made of plastics or elastomers have been used because of their low cost and ease of fabrication. However, the deformation of polymer molds under pressure remains a major issue which limits their resolution in high temperature nanoimprinting. Moreover, the replicated structures are often broken or lack definition due to sticking of the embossed polymer to the mold. We report a method for imprinting fine, densely packed nanostructures down to 12 nm into a wide range of technologically important polymers using a flexible and robust mold made from ethylene(tetrafluoroethylene) (ETFE). The high resolution achieved is due to the mold's mechanical stability and resistance to distortion at high pressures and high temperatures. The flexibility and low surface energy of ETFE provide a clean mold release without fracture or deformation of the embossed structures. Multiple imprinting and patterning on large areas is also made possible because of the good conformal contact and low-adhesion of the ETFE mold. Finally, this simple and inexpensive method allows reproduction of the stamps from one single master, thus providing an economical alternative to expensive and brittle inorganic materials.