Nanoimprint, soft imprint, metallic arrays


This Thesis describes the development of a cost-effective process for patterning nanoscale metal antenna arrays. Soft ultraviolet (UV) Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) into bilayer resist was chosen since it enables repeatable large-scale replication of nanoscale patterns with good lift-off properties using a simple low-cost process. Nanofabrication often involves the use of Electron Beam Lithography (EBL) which enables the definition of nanoscale patterns on small sample regions, typically < 1 mm 2 . However its sequential nature makes the large scale production of nanostructured substrates using EBL cost-prohibitive. NIL is a pattern replication method that can reproduce nanoscale patterns in a parallel fashion, allowing the low-cost and rapid production of a large number of nanopatterned samples based on a single nanostructured master mold. Standard NIL replicates patterns by pressing a nanostructured hard mold into a soft resist layer on a substrate resulting in exposed substrate regions, followed by an optional Reactive Ion Etching (RIE) step and the subsequent deposition of e.g. metal onto the exposed substrate area. However, non-vertical sidewalls of the features in the resist layer resulting from an imperfect hard mold, from reflow of the resist layer, or from isotropic etching in the RIE step iii may cause imperfect lift-off. To overcome this problem, a bilayer resist method can be used. Using stacked resist layers with different etch rates, undercut structures can be obtained after the RIE step, allowing for easy lift-off even when using a mold with non-vertical sidewalls. Experiments were carried out using a nanostructured negative SiO2 master mold. Various material combinations and processing methods were explored. The negative master mold was transferred to a positive soft mold, leaving the original master mold unaltered. The soft mold consisted of a 5 m thick top Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), or Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) layer, a 1.5 mm thick Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) buffer layer, and a glass supporting substrate. The soft mold was pressed into a bilayer of 300 nm PMMA and 350 nm of silicon based UV-curable resist that was spin-coated onto a glass slide, and cured using UV radiation. The imprinted patterns were etched using RIE, exposing the substrate, followed by metal deposition and lift-off. The experiments show that the use of soft molds enables successful pattern transfer even in the presence of small dust particles between the mold and the resist layer. Feature sizes down to 280 nm were replicated successfully


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Graduation Date





Kik, Pieter


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program

Optics; International








Release Date

December 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Optics and Photonics, Optics and Photonics -- Dissertations, Academic