Development of a Novel Process Chain Based on Atomic Force Microscopy Scratching for Small and Medium Series Production of Polymer Nanostructured Components

[+] Author and Article Information
E. B. Brousseau

The Manufacturing Engineering Centre, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF24 3AA, UKbrousseaue@cf.ac.uk

F. Krohs

Division for Microrobotics and Control Engineering, University of Oldenburg, D-26129 Oldenburg, Germany

E. Caillaud, O. Gibaru

 Arts et Metiers ParisTech; ALIEN INRIA-Lille Nord Europe, 59046 Lille, France

S. Dimov

The Manufacturing Engineering Centre, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF24 3AA, UK

S. Fatikow

Division for Microrobotics and Control Engineering, University of Oldenburg,D-26129 Oldenburg, Germany

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 132(3), 030901 (May 13, 2010) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4001481 History: Received November 20, 2009; Revised March 10, 2010; Published May 13, 2010; Online May 13, 2010

The continuing trend for producing novel micro- and nanostructured devices and components in a broad range of materials is a major motivating factor driving the research in the micro- and nanomanufacturing sector toward developing innovative process chains. Some of such chains enable the serial production of micro- and nanostructured parts in polymer material by combining innovatively and optimizing simultaneously master making and replication technologies. For producing features at the nanoscale, the master making processes that are currently commonly employed rely on complex lithography-based pattern transfers and/or on beam-based direct write processes. Unfortunately, the required equipment to perform these techniques are often capital intensive and necessitate particular operating temperatures or vacuum conditions. At the same time, during the development phase of new or improved nanotechnology-enabled products, it is beneficial to produce rapidly polymer prototypes to test the functionality of components with nanoscale features. Thus, the technologies currently available for nanostructuring replication masters do not comply with the low cost requirements typically associated with the production of small batches of components for prototyping purposes. As a result, this could restrict the successful development of products with functional features at the nanoscale. In this research, a new process chain is presented for the fabrication of nanostructured components in polymer that relies on a simple and cost-effective master making technology. In particular, atomic force microscopy scratching is employed as an alternative technique for nanostructuring replication masters for microinjection molding. The conducted experimental study demonstrated the potential of this approach for small and medium series production of nanostructured devices in thermoplastic materials. In addition, the effects of different scratching parameters on the achievable surface roughness and depth of the patterned structures were analyzed by employing the design of experiments approach.

Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

AFM image of the master structure fabricated by AFM scratching

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Figure 2

The height profile showing the depth of the fabricated nanostructure

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Figure 3

Part design (a) and insert assembly (b)

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Figure 4

The AFM image of the replicated structure in PP

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Figure 5

The metallographic picture of the brass sample

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Figure 6

Four AFM scratched areas on the brass sample after the first repetition of experiments

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Figure 7

Average values of S/N ratios associated with the Ra results for each parameter at different levels

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Figure 8

Average values of S/N ratios associated with the depth results for the four parameters at the three levels selected



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