Stability of Self-Assembled Monolayer Surfactant Coating in Thermal Nanoimprint



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High-resolution and low-cost fabrication techniques are essential for nanotechnology to overcome the commercialization barrier to benefit our society. Since its inception nanoimprint has become the ideal technology to fabricate dense sub-micron structures over large areas with low cost, which are important to many applications such as high-density storage disks and diffractive optical devices. The decade-long development in nanoimprint equipment has reached a point where large-scale manufacturing of high-density nanostructures are possible. However, there are a few remaining issues that need to be studied before the advent of commercial application of nanoimprint. In this work we look at a pressing issue, long-term stability of the mold surfactant coating. It is important to understand the details of the surfactant wear during nanoimprint in order to limit defect density to a tolerable threshold in a high-volume manufacturing process. To study this we went through a nanoimprinting procedure and measured chemical and physical alterations in the coating. The surfactant wear information also helps to optimize the time interval for surfactant recoating to keep the fabrication throughput as high as possible. In this paper we characterize the stability of two commonly used surfactants as well as prescribe a new technique for mold anti-adhesion. Through this work we see that FDTS and OTS undergo significant degradation in air and gradual degradation by chain scission is observed during the nanoimprint procedure. It is also noted that an embedded anti-adhesion layer is effective for mold releasing.