Electrochemical nanoimprint lithography: when nanoimprint lithography meets metal assisted chemical etching†
The functional three dimensional micro-nanostructures (3D-MNS) play crucial roles in integrated and miniaturized systems because of the excellent physical, mechanical, electric and optical properties. Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) has been versatile in the fabrication of 3D-MNS by pressing thermoplastic and photocuring resists into the imprint mold. However, direct nanoimprint on the semiconductor wafer still remains a great challenge. On the other hand, considered as a competitive fabrication method for erect high-aspect 3D-MNS, metal assisted chemical etching (MacEtch) can remove the semiconductor by spontaneous corrosion reaction at the metal/semiconductor/electrolyte 3-phase interface. Moreover, it was difficult for MacEtch to fabricate multilevel or continuously curved 3D-MNS. The question of the consequences of NIL meeting the MacEtch is yet to be answered. By employing a platinum (Pt) metalized imprint mode, we demonstrated that using electrochemical nanoimprint lithography (ECNL) it was possible to fabricate not only erect 3D-MNS, but also complex 3D-MNS with multilevel stages with continuously curved surface profiles on a gallium arsenide (GaAs) wafer. A concave microlens array with an average diameter of 58.4 μm and height of 1.5 μm was obtained on a ∼1 cm2-area GaAs wafer. An 8-phase microlens array was fabricated with a minimum stage of 57 nm and machining accuracy of 2 nm, presenting an excellent optical diffraction property. Inheriting all the advantages of both NIL and MacEtch, ECNL has prospective applications in the micro/nano-fabrications of semiconductors.