Direct electron-beam patterning of transferrable plasmonic gold nanoparticles using a HAuCl4/PVP composite resist†
Reliable fabrication of gold nanoparticles with desirable size, geometry and spatial arrangement is essential for plasmonic applications. A common fabrication flow usually involves electron-beam lithography and a vacuum-evaporation-based lift-off process or etching. In this work, we evaluate an alternative approach to directly fabricate a plasmonic gold nanoparticle array without involving the vacuum evaporation process by using a chloroauric acid/poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (HAuCl4/PVP) hybrid as a functional electron-beam resist. Systematic experiments were conducted to investigate the patterning behaviors in the fabrication process. With the optimized fabrication parameters, we show that the HAuCl4/PVP composite resist has a high patterning resolution and pure gold nanoparticles with tens of nanometers can be obtained after an annealing-based pyrolysis process. More particularly, compared to the patterned plasmonic gold nanoparticles obtained by conventional methods, the gold nanoparticles fabricated by our method can be transferred to soft substrates due to the absence of an adhesion layer, enabling various potential applications in flexible and stretchable optics. As an example, we demonstrated that the transferred gold nanoparticle array can be conformably assembled onto a flat gold surface to form a particle-on-film structure for surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) applications.