Tuesday, May 29, 2007

US Patent 7223444 - Electrostatic nanoimprint stamp


Nanoimprint lithography is another nanolithography process which is being promoted by a variety of companies such as Hewlett-Packard and which has some promise of parallel processing capabilities which will be necessary for mass production. This patent from a company called QuNanoAB proposes an interesting variant on nanoimprinting which uses a nanoimprint mold to create an electrostatic latent image (as in photocopying) on a substrate. The electrostatic pattern then attracts molecules or nanoparticles to the substrate. This method seems to have some advantages over other nanoimprint techniques since the nanoimprint stamp does not need to contact the material being patterned and thus may have a longer life expectancy since there is less potential for soiling or wear. Claim 1 reads:

1. A method comprising the steps of: forming one or more electrically-charged regions of predetermined shape on an insulating surface of a solid first material by contacting portions of said surface corresponding to said one or more regions with a solid material of a tool so as to transfer electric charge from said tool to said surface; and permitting particles of a second material to flow in a vicinity of said one or more electrically-charged regions, to interact with said one or more electrically-charged regions.

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