Arrays of highly complex noble metal nanostructures using nanoimprint lithography in combination with liquid-phase epitaxy†
Current best-practice lithographic techniques are unable to meet the functional requirements needed to enable on-chip plasmonic devices capable of fully exploiting nanostructure properties reliant on a tailored nanostructure size, composition, architecture, crystallinity, and placement. As a consequence, numerous nanofabrication methods have emerged that address various weaknesses, but none have, as of yet, demonstrated a large-area processing route capable of defining organized surfaces of nanostructures with the architectural diversity and complexity that is routinely displayed in colloidal syntheses. Here, a hybrid fabrication strategy is demonstrated in which nanoimprint lithography is combined with templated dewetting and liquid-phase syntheses that is able to realize periodic arrays of complex noble metal nanostructures over square centimeter areas. The process is inexpensive, can be carried out on a benchtop, and requires modest levels of instrumentation. Demonstrated are three fabrication schemes yielding arrays of core–shell, core–void–shell, and core–void–nanoframe structures using liquid-phase syntheses involving heteroepitaxial deposition, galvanic replacement, and dealloying. With the field of nanotechnology being increasingly reliant on the engineering of desirable physicochemical responses through architectural control, the fabrication strategy provides a platform for advancing devices reliant on addressable arrays or the collective response from an ensemble of identical nanostructures.