Design, fabrication, and characterization of thermally actuated probe arrays for Dip Pen nanolithography

David Bullen*, Xuefeng Wang, Jun Zou, Sung Wook Chung, Chad A. Mirkin, Chang Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


In Dip Pen Nanolithography (DPN), arbitrary nanoscale chemical patterns can be created by the diffusion of chemicals from the tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) probe to a surface. This paper describes the design, optimization, fabrication, and testing of an actuated multi-probe DPN array. The probe array consists of 10 thermal bimorph active probes made of silicon nitride and gold. The probes are 300 μm long and the tips are spaced 100 μm apart. An actuation current of 10 mA produces a tip deflection of 8 μm, which is enough to remove individual tips from the surface independent of the adjacent probes. An analytical probe model is presented and used to optimize the design against several possible failure modes. The array is demonstrated by using it to simultaneously write 10 unique octadecanethiol patterns on a gold surface. Pattern linewidth as small as 80 nm has been created at a maximum write speed of 20 μm/sec. By writing multiple, distinctly different patterns in parallel, this device provides a significant improvement in throughput and flexibility over conventional AFM probes in the DPN process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)594-602
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Microelectromechanical Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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