Focused ion beam lithography and a two-step anodization have been combined to fabricate a vertical fan-out platform containing an array of unique probes. Each probe comprises three anodic alumina nanochannels with a fan-out arrangement. The lithography is used to pattern an aluminum sheet with a custom-designed array of triangular 'cells' whose apexes are composed of nanoholes. The nanoholes grow into straight nanochannels under proper voltage in the first-step anodization. The second step uses a doubled voltage to induce lateral repulsion among the nanochannels' growth fronts originating in the same cell. Therefore, the fronts fan out. The repulsion roots in the inter-front distance being shorter than the naturally favoured length, which increases with anodization voltage. The fan-out evolution continues until the growth fronts originating in all the cells evolve into a close-packed two-dimensional hexagonal lattice whose spacing is identical to the favoured one. The chemical and physical mechanisms behind the fan-out fabrication are discussed. This novel fan-out platform facilitates probing and handling of many signals from different areas on a sample's surface and is therefore promising for applications in detection and manipulation at the nanoscale level.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering