Hard Transparent Arrays for Polymer Pen Lithography

James L. Hedrick, Keith A. Brown, Edward J. Kluender, Maria D. Cabezas, Peng Cheng Chen, Chad A. Mirkin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Patterning nanoscale features across macroscopic areas is challenging due to the vast range of length scales that must be addressed. With polymer pen lithography, arrays of thousands of elastomeric pyramidal pens can be used to write features across centimeter-scales, but deformation of the soft pens limits resolution and minimum feature pitch, especially with polymeric inks. Here, we show that by coating polymer pen arrays with a ∼175 nm silica layer, the resulting hard transparent arrays exhibit a force-independent contact area that improves their patterning capability by reducing the minimum feature size (∼40 nm), minimum feature pitch (<200 nm for polymers), and pen to pen variation. With these new arrays, patterns with as many as 5.9 billion features in a 14.5 cm2 area were written using a four hundred thousand pyramid pen array. Furthermore, a new method is demonstrated for patterning macroscopic feature size gradients that vary in feature diameter by a factor of 4. Ultimately, this form of polymer pen lithography allows for patterning with the resolution of dip-pen nanolithography across centimeter scales using simple and inexpensive pen arrays. The high resolution and density afforded by this technique position it as a broad-based discovery tool for the field of nanocombinatorics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3144-3148
Number of pages5
JournalACS nano
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 22 2016


  • atomic force microscopy
  • dip-pen nanolithography
  • plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition
  • polydimethylsiloxane
  • polymer pen lithography
  • scanning probe lithography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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