Nanolithography on thin films using heated atomic force microscope cantilevers
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Nanotechnology is expected to play a major role in many technology areas including electronics, materials, and defense. One of the most popular tools for nanoscale surface analysis is the atomic force microscope (AFM). AFM can be used for surface manipulation along with surface imaging. The primary motivation for this research is to demonstrate AFM-based lithography on thin films using cantilevers with integrated heaters. These thermal cantilevers can control the temperature at the end of the tip, and hence they can be used for local in-situ thermal analysis. This research directly addresses applications like nanoscale electrical circuit fabrication/repair and thermal analysis of thin-films. In this study, an investigation was performed on two thin-film materials. One of them is co-polycarbonate, a variant of a polymer named polycarbonate, and the other is an energetic material called pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN). Experimental methods involved in the lithography process are discussed, and the results of lithographic experiments performed on co-polycarbonate and PETN are reported. Effects of dominant parameters during lithography experiments like time, temperature, and force are investigated. Results of simulation of the interface temperature between thermal cantilever tip and thin film surface, at the beginning of the lithography process, are also reported.