Tunable metallization by assembly of metal nanoparticles in polymer thin films by photo- or electron beam lithography

Dehui Yin, Shin Horiuchi, Masamichi Morita, Atsushi Takahara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The technique of patterning of surfaces with metal-rich structures on micro- or nanoscales was developed by assembling metal nanoparticles into a thin film of polymer in a controllable way. Palladium (Pd) nanoparticles were incorporated into a thin film of poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) using palladium (II) bis(acetylacetonato), Pd(acac)2, as a precursor vaporized in a nitrogen atmosphere. Depending upon its dose, the irradiation of a PMMA film by UV light or an electron beam (EB) enhances its reducing capability against Pd(acac)2. This dependency on dose can be used to control the formation and assembly of Pd nanoparticles. Using this technique, binary patterns consisting of metal-rich and metal-poor regions in the polymer film can be created simply by irradiating the surface of the polymer through a binary photomask. Besides the creation of binary patterns, it is also possible to create grayscale patterns where the density of Pd nanoparticles can be tuned to provide shades of gray by the use of light with continuously modulated intensity. Because the electron beam also enhances the reducing power of PMMA against Pd(acac)2, it is thus possible to obtain highly metallized films with nanoscale pattern features. The PMMA film can be selectively removed by oxygen plasma treatment or by pyrolysis. Thus, highly metallized surfaces with binary or grayscale patterns can be obtained by selective removal of the PMMA films. The metallized regions possess relatively high resistivity against CF4 plasma compared to the bare silicon surface; therefore, the metallized surface patterns can be transferred onto the underlying silicon substrate by CF4 plasma treatment. Because of the nanosize effect of metal nanoparticles, the thermal treatment at 900°C, which is significantly lower than the melting temperature of the bulk Pd, yields continuous metallic features by binding the assembled nanoparticles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9352-9358
Number of pages7
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Sept 27 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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