Non-Close-Packed Crystals from Self-Assembled Polystyrene Spheres by Isotropic Plasma Etching: Adding Flexibility to Colloid Lithography



Hexagonally ordered arrays of non-close-packed nanoscaled spherical polystyrene (PS) particles are prepared exhibiting precisely controlled diameters and interparticle distances. For this purpose, a newly developed isotropic plasma etching process is applied to extended monolayers of PS colloids (starting diameters <300 nm) deposited onto hydrophilic silicon. Accurate size, shape, and smoothness control of such particles is accomplished by etching at low temperatures (−150 °C) with small rates not usually available in standard reactive ion etching equipment. The applicability of such PS arrays as masks for subsequent pattern transfer is demonstrated by fabricating arrays of cylindrical nanopores into Si.