Microlithography by using neutral metastable atoms and self-assembled monolayers

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Science  01 Sep 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5228, pp. 1255-1257
DOI: 10.1126/science.7652572


Lithography can be performed with beams of neutral atoms in metastable excited states to pattern self-assembled monolayers (SAMs) of alkanethiolates on gold. An estimated exposure of a SAM of dodecanethiolate (DDT) to 15 to 20 metastable argon atoms per DDT molecule damaged the SAM sufficiently to allow penetration of an aqueous solution of ferricyanide to the surface of the gold. This solution etched the gold and transformed the patterns in the SAMs into structures of gold; these structures had edge resolution of less than 100 nanometers. Regions of SAMs as large as 2 square centimeters were patterned by exposure to a beam of metastable argon atoms. These observations suggest that this system may be useful in new forms of micro- and nanolithography.