Electrochemical Surface Patterning and Additive Manufacturing with FluidFM

L. D. Hirt


The ability to create small patterns and structures on the micro- to nanometer scale is a fundamental requirement for many technologies of our daily life and for many research applications alike. Microfabrication refers to processes that allow the design and creation of such small, functional parts and geometries, having feature sizes from nanometers to tens of micrometers. Traditionally, most microfabrication technologies are based on lithography, relying on the controlled removal of material, for example by using photoresists, masked light exposure and etching steps. As an alternative to mask-based lithography, scanning probe techniques can be used for the localized deposition or modification of material, thus building structures without the need of a mask. Such lithography applications were already explored just after the invention of the scanning tunneling microscope and the atomic force microscope (AFM) in the late 1980s, and they have since enabled a multitude of novel applications. The FluidFM technology is a more recent scanning probe technique which was developed in our laboratory. FluidFM is based on AFM cantilevers which contain a fluidic microchannel and have a small aperture at their tip apex, thus creating a force-controlled micropipette tool to dispense liquids with femtoliter precision. This unique combination makes FluidFM a promising instrument for scanning probe lithography (SPL)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000165005