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Electro-colloidal lithography: A versatile approach combining colloidal particles and electric fields for the fabrication of patterned polymer and metal films

Référence

04129-01

Statut des brevets

French patent application FR1151745 filed on March 3rd, 2011 and entitled “Procédé de structuration de surface utilisant des particules colloïdales sous champ électrique, surfaces obtenues et applications”

Inventeurs

Chrystel FAURE
Damien BAZIN

Statut commercial

Exclusive or non exclusive license, collaboration

Laboratoire

Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal, UPR 8641, CBMN, UMR 5248

Description

CONTEXT

Colloidal lithography, which is based on the use of two-dimensional colloidal crystals as masks or templates, was developed recently to offer an alternative to more conventional lithography techniques such as  photolithography, electron beam lithography, “dip pen” lithography, and nano-imprinting that usually suffer from low throughput and high cost.
However, the production of patterned surfaces by colloidal lithography still requires traditional nanofabrication processes such as evaporation, etching, or even photolithographic processes which make actual colloidal lithography not so advantageous. Moreover, when non-close-packed colloidal crystals are desired for patterning, additional steps such as e.g. particle etching, substrate dilatation, production of a template to direct the assembling or transfer printing are carried out. These additional steps make the industrialization of the process difficult. We developed a new process that is straightforward, easy and cost-effective to produce patterned polymer and metal surfaces.

TECHNICAL DESCRIPTION

The technique named electro-colloidal lithography requires only an AC/DC field generator and colloidal particles. At first colloidal particles are inserted into an electro-chemical cell and organized into lattice of different geometries (hexagonal, chains…) on an electrode controlling the distance between particles. Once the desired distance is obtained, the organized particles can be stuck on the substrate forming the colloidal mask. Then a second population of particles is inserted into the electro-chemical cell and a DC electric field is applied. Depending on the nature and concentration of the colloidal particles inserted, patterned surfaces of different geometries – spheres, hollow spheres, rings or holes- and compositions –polymer or metal- are obtained. Any types of electrode can be used.

BENEFITS

The technique is versatile, easier, more cost-effective and more straightforward than conventional lithography techniques. The fact that no additional treatments are required, to obtain a large variety of patterned substrates, reduces the complexity and fabrication costs. This process is environmentally friendly since no organic solvent are required. The nature of the substrate can be changed to fit the application requirements as long as it is conductive. The colloidal particles used to pattern the surface as well as the electrodes being commercially available, the scale-up of this process can be conceivable. When micrometric or sub-micrometric scales are needed, this technique can offer a very interesting alternative to standard lithography techniques.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS

This technique could be employed for optoelectronic devices, analytical chemistry, surface treatment, chemical sensors and biotechnology.


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