Materials Science

Wiggling into Something Thinner

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Science  26 Jan 2007:
Vol. 315, Issue 5811, pp. 439
DOI: 10.1126/science.315.5811.439a

Nanoscale features can be fabricated in polymer thin films by room-temperature forging or embossing, in which the material undergoes inelastic flow from beneath a die to create an impression. The thinness of the layer remaining below the die is limited by friction, the shear strength of the material, and the pressure created by material building up outside the die, as well as by the amount of force the die itself can tolerate before it deforms. Cross et al. show that applying a small-amplitude shearing motion (approximately 10 nm) in the plane of the film activates surface flow. The shear motion not only allows much thinner layers to be formed but also decreases the number of defects that often limit the yield of structures with the necessary critical dimensions for a given application. Finite element simulations were used to confirm the underlying mechanism. — PDS

Nano Lett. 7, 10.1021/nl0624566 (2007).

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