AFM Surface Characterization of Lithographic Patterns of Aluminum Nanoparticles on Coated Glass

Anton Paar’s atomic force microscope Tosca was used to analyze aluminum nanoparticle patterns deposited on ITO coated glass. Tosca gives the 3D topography of the surface and provides quantitative measurement of the surface geometry.

Nanolithography is a precise patterning technology used to fabricate functional nanostructures for applications in biosensors, advanced materials and extensively in semiconductor segment for solar cells, printed electronics, LED, MEMS, etc. The constant demand, especially from the semiconductor industry for lower process cost, easier implementation and higher throughput is always pushing the further development of the nanolithography technology.

Besides the traditional photolithography, various nanolithography technologies such as electron beam lithography, nano-imprint lithography, nano-sphere lithography, etc. have been developed. After the pattern structure is generated, it always requires a precise characterization method to quantitatively check the quality of the structure. Since most lithographic patterns have a 3D structure, it is necessary that the characterization technique offers the capability to measure in 3D. The atomic force microscope (AFM), which utilizes a sharp probe to scan across the sample surface to record the surface morphology, provides not only high spatial resolution but also high vertical resolution in nanometer and subnanometer scale. It offers a reliable way to precisely characterize the three dimensional lithographic structures.

In this report, we use the new AFM from Anton Paar, Tosca to characterize aluminum nanoparticles deposited on indium tin oxide (ITO) coated glass using lift-off based vapor deposition with electron beam lithography.

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