• grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering;
  • nanofabrication;
  • diffraction gratings

Grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) has been used to structurally characterize model hard and soft gratings of nanotechnological interest. The different gratings exhibit GISAXS patterns with characteristic features that can be associated with their level of order along the direction of periodicity and the length of the lines. Highly ordered gratings, made out of silicon by electron beam lithography, and those nanofabricated on spin-coated polymer films by nanoimprint lithography, exhibit characteristic semicircle-like GISAXS patterns with intensity spots periodically distributed on a semicircle whose radius is related to the incidence angle used. These gratings can be considered as one-dimensional crystalline lattices as provided by computer simulations. Less ordered polymer gratings prepared by the laser-induced periodic surface structuring method exhibit a GISAXS pattern characterized by periodic rod-like scattering maxima whose intensity decreases with increasing horizontal scattering angle. In this case the gratings can be considered as one-dimensional paracrystals. The transition from a rod-like to a semicircle-like GISAXS pattern has been simulated and attributed to the contribution of the form factor by changing the length of the line (ripple). A critical length value for the transition is located at around a few micrometres.