Dip Pen Nanolithography: Applications and Functional Extensions


Linette M. Demers NanoInk Inc.

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In many areas of modern technology, from biotechnology to solid-state device fabrication, two-dimensional patterning techniques are used to define structures and boundaries. These patterning techniques ultimately determine features size and density and thus unit performance and price. Much is developed upon the well-known techniques of resist lithography, yet to achieve extreme spatial resolution or chemical versatility other techniques are better suited.

Dip Pen Nanolithography (DPN™) is a widely used scanning probe lithography (SPL) method. Here, a sharp tip is coated with a functional molecule (the “ink”) and brought into contact with a surface where it deposits ink via a water meniscus. The DPN process is a direct-write pattern transfer technique with nanometer resolution and is inherently general with respect to usable inks and substrates.

This article serves to outline the basics of DPN writing and discusses its most important applications as well as new technological advances in DPN instrumentation.