ADVANCED NANOIMPRINT TECHNIQUE FOR MULTILAYER STRUCTURES AND FUNCTIONAL POLYMER APPLICATIONS
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Three-dimensional (3D) polymer structures are very attractive because the extra structural dimension can provide denser integration and superior performance to accomplish complex tasks. Successful fabrication of 3D multilayer microstructures in thermoplastic polymers using optimized nanoimprint lithography techniques such as layer-transfer and transfer-bonding methods are developed in this dissertation work. The capability and flexibility of the techniques developed here are expected to have deep impact on the applications of soft materials such as polymers including functional polymers in micro- and nanofabricated devices and systems. Although NIL technique is developing rapidly in recent years, there are still issues that need to be addressed for broader adoption of the nanoimprint technique. One of the problems is the residual layer that remains in the polymer pattern after nanoimprint. The conventional approach, oxygen reactive-ion-etching (RIE) process, to remove the residual layers, increases the cost and lowers the overall throughput of the nanoimprint process. More severely, it can degrade or even damage the functional polymers. In order to overcome these problems, new residual layer removal techniques need to be developed. In this dissertation, two methods are newly developed, which do not negatively affect the chemistry of the polymer materials. The techniques are suitable for all thermoplastic polymers, particularly functional polymers. Another advantage of nanoimprint is its ability to directly create functional polymers structures. This is because thermal nanoimprint only needs temperature and pressure for pattern replication, which both are benign to functional polymers. This feature combined with newly developed techniques such as transfer-bonding and residue removal techniques opens up the possibilities in nondestructive functional polymers patterning at the micro- and nanoscale for novel applications in electronics, optoelectronics, photonics and bioengineering. Finally, several applications of 3D multilayer structures fabricated by the techniques developed in this dissertation are demonstrated. The first application is a multilayer metal-dielectric-metal structure with embedded microfluidic channels. This structure can be used as an on-chip tunable filter for integrated microfluidic applications. The second application is a multilayer microfluidic channels in which each layer has a different channel size. This device can be used for particle separation and filtration based on lateral fluid flow.
3D multilayer structure
Reversal nanoimprint lithography
Park, Hyunsoo (2009). ADVANCED NANOIMPRINT TECHNIQUE FOR MULTILAYER STRUCTURES AND FUNCTIONAL POLYMER APPLICATIONS. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from