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Published November 2002 | public
Journal Article Open

Direct printing of polymer microstructures on flat and spherical surfaces using a letterpress technique


We have developed a letterpress technique capable of printing polymer films with micrometer scale feature sizes onto flat or spherically shaped nonporous substrates. This printing technique deposits polymer only in desired regions thereby eliminating subsequent developing and subtraction steps. Flat or curved printing plates, which are fabricated from either rigid or deformable materials, are used to transfer thin molten polymer films onto flat target substrates. By deforming the printing plates into a spherical shape, it is also possible to print patterned films onto the concave side of a spherically deformed target substrate. These printed films serve as good resists for both wet chemical etching and reactive ion etching. Interferometric measurements of the polymer film thickness are used to probe physical mechanisms affecting printing instabilities, pattern fidelity, and edge resolution. Our experimental study indicates that this letterpress technique may prove suitable for high-throughput device fabrication involving large-area microelectronics.

Additional Information

©2002 American Vacuum Society. (Received 1 April 2002; accepted 16 September 2002) This project was funded by the Electronic Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the Molecular Level Printing program and by the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology. We also wish to thank the Eastman Kodak Corporation for their generous support through the Kodak Graduate Fellowship Program (SMM). Iris Hsu and Professor James Sturm of the Department of Electrical Engineering kindly lent us the apparatus for spherical deformation of flexible foils used in this study.


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