Individually Addressed Large Scale Patterning of Conducting Polymers by Localized Electric Fields (23097)
A new multiplexed and parallel polymer patterning process, with individual addressability, via electropolymerization within the gap of electrodes has been developed at Northwestern University. The technology permits the scaleable and controlled patterning of conducting polymer structures on the micro-nanometer scale, desirable for fabricating optical, electronic, opto-electronic and sensing devices, such as light emitting devices, polymer transistor junctions, chemical sensors, among many others.
ADVANTAGES: Process to pattern multiple polymer materials at specific locations on microelectronic platforms, with potential for high efficiency, resolution, accurate positioning and low cost. This simple and robust method is compatible with present day microelectronics technology.
SUMMARY: Controlled patterning of conducting polymer structures at the micro- nanometer scale is highly desirable for the fabrication of miniaturized devices. These polymers are often synthesized from appropriate monomers by chemical or electrochemical polymerization in solution, and patterned on substrates by a variety of lithographic techniques. An alternative patterning strategy is to use monomers as building blocks and exploit the polymerization at specific locations on a substrate.
Electrode patterns (40 nm thin gold film on 10 nm titanium) were fabricated on silicon substrates covered with 600 nm SiO2, connected via a chip carrier, then placed in an environment chamber connected to a monomer source. A DC voltage applied between appropriate electrodes initiates localized polymerization, which is controlled by monitoring the electrode gap resistance. Thus, polymerization of pyrrole between a 5 μm electrode gap was obtained with a 10 V DC voltage in saturated monomer vapor at 24°C. Highly localized and enhanced electric fields induce polymerization of other polymers such as thiophene. The requirement for the precise registry of patterned structures and electrodes in other methods is not necessary in the present approach. Interesting chemical detection devices have been created utilizing the technology.
Patterning of different materials at specific locations with high efficiency, resolution, accurate positioning and low cost would facilitate large-scale production of complex architectures. This process is compatible with current microelectronics technology and represents a significant advance in the controlled patterning of multiple polymeric materials.
REFERENCE: Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 828( 2004).
STATUS: Chemical sensors and light detection devices have been fabricated with the technology. A patent application has been filed.
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