Journal article

A self-assembled monolayer-assisted surface microfabrication and release technique

This paper describes a method of thin film and MEMS processing which uses self-assembled monolayers as ultra-thin organic surface coating to enable a simple removal of microfabricated devices off the surface without wet chemical etching. A 1.5-nm thick self-assembled monolayer of dodecyltrichlorosilane reduces the adhesion between the SiO2 substrate surface and a 100-nm thick evaporated aluminum film. A 100-mm thick layer of photoplastic SU-8, which is spun and structured by lithography and development on top of the monolayer/aluminum sandwich layer, can be mechanically lifted off the surface with the aluminum layer. The organic monolayer provides enough stability for the microfabrication process including photoresist spinning and thermal steps. The aluminum film has a surface roughness of less than 1 nm rms as measured by AFM. Photolithographic microstructuring of the aluminum film prior to the photoplastic process allows for transparent embedded bottom-side metal electrodes. As first application example, molded nanoprobes for scanning near-field optical microscopy, has been demonstrated using this technique.

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