Survey of materials for nanoskiving and influence of the cutting process on the nanostructures produced

Darren J. Lipomi, Ramses V. Martinez, Robert M. Rioux, Ludovico Cademartiri, William F. Reus, George M. Whitesides

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35 Scopus citations


This paper examines the factors that influence the quality of nanostructures fabricated by sectioning thin films with an ultramicrotome ("nanoskiving"). It surveys different materials (metals, ceramics, semiconductors, and conjugated polymers), deposition techniques (evaporation, sputter deposition, electroless deposition, chemical-vapor deposition, solution-phase synthesis, and spin-coating), and geometries (nanowires or two-dimensional arrays of rings and crescents). It then correlates the extent of fragmentation of the nanostructures with the composition of the thin films, the methods used to deposit them, and the parameters used for sectioning. There are four major conclusions. (i) Films of soft and compliant metals (those that have bulk values of hardness less than or equal to those of palladium, or ≥500 MPa) tend to remain intact upon sectioning, whereas hard and stiff metals (those that have values of hardness greater than or equal to those of platinum, or ≥500 MPa) tend to fragment. (ii) All conjugated polymers tested form intact nanostructures. (iii) The extent of fragmentation is lowest when the direction of cutting is perpendicular to the exposed edge of the embedded film. (iv) The speed of cutting-from 0.1 to 8 mm/s-has no effect on the frequency of defects. Defects generated during sectioning include scoring from defects in the knife, delamination of the film from the matrix, and compression of the matrix. The materials tested were: aluminum, titanium, nickel, copper, palladium, silver, platinum, gold, lead, bismuth, germanium, silicon dioxide (SiO2), alumina (Al2O3), tin-doped indium oxide (ITO), lead sulfide nanocrystals, the semiconducting polymers poly(2-methoxy-5-(2'-ethyl- hexyloxy)-1,4-phenylene vinylene) (MEH-PPV), poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT), and poly(benzimidazobenzophenanthroline ladder) (BBL), and the conductive polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2503-2514
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 22 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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