Capillary-force-induced collapse of high-aspect-ratio (HAR) micro- and nanostructures is common in the evaporation–drying process and a number of applications based on the collapse have been proposed. However, the collapse of small HAR structures is usually uncontrollable, which has prevented it from being used in engineering applications. Here, the collapse of 10-nm-scale structures is separately controlled through engineering an asymmetric cross section, curvature, and tilt in the structures prior to collapse. It is shown that this deterministic-collapse approach can be used to create linear structures from collapsed pillars and planar rectangular structures from collapsed fencelike linear structures, and can further be used to create small gaps by controlling the collapse of nearby structures. These techniques could be used to improve the performance of beam-based lithography methods for certain types of patterns by increasing throughput and resolution, reducing the proximity effect, and reducing irradiation damage. In addition, this controlled-collapse concept provides a possible platform with which to study mechanical behavior at the 10-nm scale.
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