Large-scale nanoshaping of ultrasmooth 3D crystalline metallic structures

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Science  12 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6215, pp. 1352-1356
DOI: 10.1126/science.1260139

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We report a low-cost, high-throughput benchtop method that enables thin layers of metal to be shaped with nanoscale precision by generating ultrahigh-strain-rate deformations. Laser shock imprinting can create three-dimensional crystalline metallic structures as small as 10 nanometers with ultrasmooth surfaces at ambient conditions. This technique enables the successful fabrications of large-area, uniform nanopatterns with aspect ratios as high as 5 for plasmonic and sensing applications, as well as mechanically strengthened nanostructures and metal-graphene hybrid nanodevices.

Laser shock imprinting for patterning metals

High-fidelity, small-scale patterning is often a tradeoff between full-pattern methods that may have limited resolution or flexiblity, and serial methods that can create high-resolution patterns but only by slow processes. Furthermore, metals have limited formability at very small scales. Gao et al. developed a method to create very smooth threedimensional crystalline metallic nanoscale structures using a laser to create shockwave impulses. The shockwave creates ultrahigh-strain-rate deformations that overcome the metal's normal strength and, thus, resistance to patterning.

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