Beam pen lithography

Fengwei Huo, Gengfeng Zheng, Xing Liao, Louise R. Giam, Jinan Chai, Xiaodong Chen, Wooyoung Shim, Chad A. Mirkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (Scopus)


Lithography techniques are currently being developed to fabricate nanoscale components for integrated circuits, medical diagnostics and optoelectronics. In conventional far-field optical lithography, lateral feature resolution is diffraction-limited. Approaches that overcome the diffraction limit have been developed, but these are difficult to implement or they preclude arbitrary pattern formation. Techniques based on near-field scanning optical microscopy can overcome the diffraction limit, but they suffer from inherently low throughput and restricted scan areas. Highly parallel two-dimensional, silicon-based, near-field scanning optical microscopy aperture arrays have been fabricated, but aligning a non-deformable aperture array to a large-area substrate with near-field proximity remains challenging. However, recent advances in lithographies based on scanning probe microscopy have made use of transparent two-dimensional arrays of pyramid-shaped elastomeric tips (or pens) for large-area, high-throughput patterning of ink molecules. Here, we report a massively parallel scanning probe microscopy-based approach that can generate arbitrary patterns by passing 400-nm light through nanoscopic apertures at each tip in the array. The technique, termed beam pen lithography, can toggle between near- and far-field distances, allowing both sub-diffraction limit (100 nm) and larger features to be generated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-640
Number of pages4
JournalNature Nanotechnology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Sep

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
C.A.M. acknowledges the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and NSF (NSEC-program) for supporting this research. C.A.M is grateful for a NSSEF Fellowship from the DoD. L.R.G. acknowledges the NSF for a Graduate Research Fellowship and an ARCS Scholarship.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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