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Ion-Induced Localized Nanoscale Polymer Reflow for Three-Dimensional Self-Assembly

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posted on 12.09.2018, 00:00 by Chunhui Dai, Kriti Agarwal, Jeong-Hyun Cho
Thermal reflow of polymers is a well-established phenomenon that has been used in various microfabrication processes. However, present techniques have critical limitations in controlling the various attributes of polymer reflow, such as the position and extent of reflow, especially at the nanoscale. These challenges primarily result from the reflow heat source supplying heat energy to the entire substrate rather than a specific area. In this work, a focused ion beam (FIB) microscope is used to achieve controllable localized heat generation, leading to precise control over the nanoscale polymer reflow. Through the use of the patterning capability of FIB microscopy, dramatically different reflow performances within nanoscale distances of each other are demonstrated in both discrete periodic and continuous polymer structures. Further, we utilize a self-assembly process induced by nanoscale polymer reflow to realize 3D optical devices, specifically, vertically aligned nanoresonators and graphene-based nanocubes. HFSS and Comsol simulations have been carried out to analyze the advantages of the polymer-based 3D metamaterials as opposed to those fabricated with a metallic hinge. The simulation results clearly demonstrate that the polymer hinges have a dual advantage; first, the removal of any interference from the transmission spectrum leading to strong and distinct resonance peaks and, second, the elimination of parasitic leeching of the enhanced field by the metallic hinge resulting in stronger volumetric enhancement. Thus, the 2-fold advantages existing in 3D polymer-hinge optical metamaterials can open pathways for applications in 3D optoelectronic devices and sensors, vibrational molecular spectroscopy, and other nanoscale 3D plasmonic devices.