Thermo-mechanical optimization of thermally actuated cantilever arrays

David Bullen*, Ming Zhang, Chang Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Scanning probe lithography (SPL) is an emerging method of producing sub 50-nm features for semiconductor applications. A new variation of this process known as Dip Pen Nanolithography (DPN) expands the range of SPL capabilities to include depositing organic and biological macromolecules with nanometer precision. Recent work has been underway to implement DPN as parallel process by employing close packed arrays of individually thermally actuated DPN probes (TA-DPN arrays). In these types of devices, it is not necessary to have feedback control of the height of individual tips during operation. This simplifies the control system and probe structure but complicates array design because of the uncontrolled mechanical interaction between the tip and surface. We have found that TA-DPN arrays are subject to several failure modes that make optimization difficult, including surface scratching, excess tip angle, and problems resulting from inadequate actuation. In this paper, these performance issues are outlined and resolved with the creation of a multi-parameter simulator. The simulation predicts array behavior by employing engineering beam theory, Hertz contact mechanics, and capillary adhesion theory. Using the new insights gained from this simulation method, TA-DPN arrays can be quickly optimized based on any desired criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-295
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2002
EventSmart Structures and Materials 2002: Smart Electronics, MEMS, and Nanotechnology - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 18 2002Mar 21 2002


  • AFM
  • Dip Pen Nanolithography
  • Scanning probe lithography
  • Simulation
  • Thermal actuator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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