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Fiber Lithography: A Facile Lithography Platform Based on Electromagnetic Phase Modulation Using a Highly Birefringent Electrospun Fiber

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posted on 2020-04-16, 14:48 authored by Jonghyun Kim, Dongwoon Shin, Jiyoung Chang
Lithography plays a key role in advancing manufacturing as well as the semiconductor industry. However, the currently available state-of-the-art lithography methods still require access to expensive tools and facilities. Herein, we suggest a novel lithography method based on electromagnetic phase modulation of ultraviolet using a highly birefringent electrospun fiber to overcome such limitations. The optical birefringent effect, by which the phase of incident ultraviolet electromagnetic fields is retarded when passing through optically anisotropic media, is combined with semicrystalline poly­(ethylene oxide) (PEO)–poly­(ethylene glycol) (PEG) polymeric microfibers patterned in a programmable form using near-field electrospinning. By positioning the mask between two linear polarizers that are perpendicular to each other, only the UV waves that are passing through the fibers can be selectively utilized to exhibit lithographic property. Therefore, the UV intensity on the photoresist (PR) surface follows the shape of the fiber pattern, enabling precisely controlled patterning of the photoresist. Zero- to two-dimensional key features of lithography are achieved, including straight, curved, array, and isolated patterns. Facile optical alignments without using dedicated alignment marks are successfully demonstrated, as well as various applications including micro- to macroscale serpentine, tree, and antenna circuit patterns on a flexible substrate. The presented approach, packed in a table-top scale, is expected to provide a practical and affordable lithography solution by leveraging the direct-writing capability and tunable optical functionality of polymers, scalability, and the simple optical alignment method.