Thin film patterning by the conventional lithographic technique requires a number of steps including the deposition, development, and removal of the photoresist layer. Here we demonstrate that metal thin films evaporated on glass can be directly patterned by a spatially modulated pulsed Nd-YAG laser beam (wavelength = 1064nm, pulse width = 6ns) incident from the backside of the substrate. This method utilizes a pulsed laser-induced thermo-elastic force exerted on the film which plays a role in detaching it from the substrate. High-fidelity patterns at the micrometer scale have been fabricated over a few square centimeters by a single pulse with pulse energy of 850mJ. This is attributed to the fact that deposited metal films are polycrystalline with nano-sized grains, and thus localized etching of the material is possible with shearing along the weakly bonded grain boundary regions. We have also developed a nano-block model to simulate the laser-direct patterning of nanocrystalline thin films. Experimental results could be well described with this simulation model. The patterning process presented here provides a simple photoresist-free route to fabricate metal thin film patterns on transparent substrates.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Mechanics of Materials
- Materials Science(all)