Investigation of a new process chain based on atomic force microscopy scratching

Brousseau, E. and Krohs, F. and Griffiths, A. and Scholz, S. and Fatikow, S.
Recent research investigations have reported the development of a number of process chains that are complementary to those used for batch manufacturing of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) in order to broaden the application domain f products incorporating micro and nano scale features. Such alternative processchains combine micro and nano structuring technologies for master making with replication techniques for high volume production such as injection moulding. In this research, a new process chain is presented for the fabrication of components with nano scale features. In particular, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) scratching is proposed as an alternative master making technology to the more conventionally used lithography-based processes. The conducted experimental study demonstrated the potential of this approach for the production of nano structured devices in thermoplastic materials. Such a manufacturing route also represents an attractive prototyping solution to test the functionalities of components with nano scale features prior to their mass fabrication and thus to reduce the development time and cost of nanotechnology-enabled products.
10 / 2009