Structural transformation by electrodeposition on patterned substrates (STEPS): A new versatile nanofabrication method

Philseok Kim, Alexander K. Epstein, Mughees Khan, Lauren D. Zarzar, Darren J. Lipomi, George M. Whitesides, Joanna Aizenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Arrays of high-aspect-ratio (HAR) nano- and microstructures are of great interest for designing surfaces for applications in optics, bio-nano interfaces, microelectromechanical systems, and microfluidics, but the difficulty of systematically and conveniently varying the geometries of these structures significantly limits their design and optimization for a specific function. This paper demonstrates a low-cost, high-throughput benchtop method that enables a HAR array to be reshaped with nanoscale precision by electrodeposition of conductive polymers. The method-named STEPS (structural transformation by electrodeposition on patterned substrates)-makes it possible to create patterns with proportionally increasing size of original features, to convert isolated HAR features into a closed-cell substrate with a continuous HAR wall, and to transform a simple parent two-dimensional HAR array into new three-dimensional patterned structures with tapered, tilted, anisotropic, or overhanging geometries by controlling the deposition conditions. We demonstrate the fabrication of substrates with continuous or discrete gradients of nanostructure features, as well as libraries of various patterns, starting from a single master structure. By providing exemplary applications in plasmonics, bacterial patterning, and formation of mechanically reinforced structures, we show that STEPS enables a wide range of studies of the effect of substrate topography on surface properties leading to optimization of the structures for a specific application. This research identifies solution-based deposition of conductive polymers as a new tool in nanofabrication and allows access to 3D architectures that were previously difficult to fabricate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-533
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 8 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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