Integrated bottom-up and top-down soft lithographies and microfabrication approaches to multifunctional polymers
Organic multifunctional materials are becoming increasingly relevant to many fields of technology. Bottom-up assembly processes to give well-defined supramolecular architectures are a powerful tool to control the size and organization of molecular and polymeric nano- and microstructures. The full exploitation of these molecular systems in devices, however, often requires a superior technological control which should span very different length scales, enabling nanoscale control as well as large-area patterning and interfacing of active molecules with electrodes, external optical excitation or collection, biotechnological and lab-on-chip platforms of practical use, and so on. This critically depends on the development of specific lithographic approaches which are inherently hybrid in their character, since they combine bottom-up and top-down nanofabrication strategies in a smart way. Here we review and discuss some of these relevant hybrid methods, with a focus on their ultimate applicability to device platforms. The invention of a successfully integrated bottom-up/top-down strategy for microfabrication of functional macromolecules relies on exploiting their peculiar physico-chemical properties, and on building genuinely cross-disciplinary know-how and technologies.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Fabrication technology of nanomaterials