Spun-wrapped aligned nanofiber (SWAN) lithography for fabrication of micro/nano-structures on 3D objects

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Royal Society of Chemistry

Fabrication of micro/nano-structures on irregularly shaped substrates and three-dimensional (3D) objects is of significant interest in diverse technological fields. However, it remains a formidable challenge thwarted by limited adaptability of the state-of-the-art nanolithography techniques for nanofabrication on non-planar surfaces. In this work, we introduce Spun-Wrapped Aligned Nanofiber (SWAN) lithography, a versatile, scalable, and cost-effective technique for fabrication of multiscale (nano to microscale) structures on 3D objects without restriction on substrate material and geometry. SWAN lithography combines precise deposition of polymeric nanofiber masks, in aligned single or multilayer configurations, with well-controlled solvent vapor treatment and etching processes to enable high throughput (>10−7 m2 s−1) and large-area fabrication of sub-50 nm to several micron features with high pattern fidelity. Using this technique, we demonstrate whole-surface nanopatterning of bulk and thin film surfaces of cubes, cylinders, and hyperbola-shaped objects that would be difficult, if not impossible to achieve with existing methods. We demonstrate that the fabricated feature size (b) scales with the fiber mask diameter (D) as b1.5 ∝ D. This scaling law is in excellent agreement with theoretical predictions using the Johnson, Kendall, and Roberts (JKR) contact theory, thus providing a rational design framework for fabrication of systems and devices that require precisely designed multiscale features.