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May 23, 2011

Reusable template for the production of nanowires

Scanning electron micrograph image showing platinum wires being lifted away from the surface of the UNCD electrode. Inset: Higher magnification image showing a single ring of platinum removed from the UNCD surface.

Argonne National Labs - Scientists from CNM's Nanofabrication Group, working with users from the University of Wisconsin-Stevenson Point, discovered a fast, simple, scalable technique for solution-based, electrochemical synthesis of patterned metallic and semiconducting nanowires from a reusable, nonsacrificial, ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) template.

Electroplate and Lift Lithography for Patterned Micro/Nanowires Using Ultrananocrystalline Diamond (UNCD) as a Reusable Template.


(A) Schematic of the procedure for fabricating the UNCD electrodes and synthesizing multiple copies of the patterned wires. (B−D) Edge views of three UNCD electrodes of identical fabrication, all having 75 nm of N-UNCD layers, showing the ability to grow different thicknesses of wires by varying the duration of electroplating: palladium wire with average thickness of (B) 85, (C) 150, and (D) 430 nm.

A fast, simple, scalable technique is described for the controlled, solution-based, electrochemical synthesis of patterned metallic and semiconducting nanowires from reusable, nonsacrificial, ultrananocrystalline diamond (UNCD) templates. This enables the repeated fabrication of arrays of complex patterns of nanowires, potentially made of any electrochemically depositable material. Unlike all other methods of patterning nanowires, this benchtop technique quickly mass-produces patterned nanowires whose diameters are not predefined by the template, without requiring intervening vacuum or clean room processing. This technique opens a pathway for studying nanoscale phenomena with minimal equipment, allowing the process-scale development of a new generation of nanowire-based devices.

The process involves fabrication of wafer-level electrochemical cells consisting of alternating insulating and conducting UNCD thin films. Unique electrochemical properties of electrically conducting nitrogen incorporated UNCD not only provide a robust electrode platform for electro-deposition of micro/nanowires of various materials, but also facilitate easy peeling-off of deposited micro/nanowires for repeat use. This bench-top technique is easy and quickly produces patterned nanowires on a large scale with diameters that are not predefined by the template, and do not require vacuum or clean-room processing. This offers a path for studying nanoscale phenomena and allows for process-scale development of a new generation of nanowire-based devices.

(A−J) SEM images of various materials deposited on the UNCD electrodes. Scale bars are 2 microns.


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