Opt. Express

16nm resolution lithography using ultra-small gap bowtie apertures

Authors:Yang Chen, Jin Qin, Jianfeng Chen, Liang Zhang, Chengfu Ma, Jiaru Chu, Xianfan Xu and Liang Wang

Photolithography has long been a critical technology for nanoscale manufacturing, especially in the semiconductor industry. However, the diffractive nature of light has limited the continuous advance of optical lithography resolution. To overcome this obstacle, near-field scanning optical lithography (NSOL) is an alternative low-cost technique, whose resolution is determined by the near-field localization that can be achieved. Here, we apply the newly-developed backside milling method to fabricate bowtie apertures with a sub-15 nm gap, which can substantially improve the resolution of NSOL. A highly confined electric near field is produced by localized surface plasmon excitation and nanofocusing of the closely-tapered gap. We show contact lithography results with a record 16 nm resolution (FWHM). This photolithography scheme promises potential applications in data storage, high-speed computation, energy harvesting, and other nanotechnology areas.

Scientific Reports

Resonant Effects in Nanoscale Bowtie Apertures

Authors:Li Ding, Jin Qin, Songpo Guo, Tao Liu, Edward Kinzel and Liang Wang

Nanoscale bowtie aperture antennas can be used to focus light well below the diffraction limit with extremely high transmission efficiencies. This paper studies the spectral dependence of the transmission through nanoscale bowtie apertures defined in a silver film. A realistic bowtie aperture is numerically modeled using the Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) method. Results show that the transmission spectrum is dominated by Fabry-Pérot (F-P) waveguide modes and plasmonic modes. The F-P resonance is sensitive to the thickness of the film and the plasmonic resonant mode is closely related to the gap distance of the bowtie aperture. Both characteristics significantly affect the transmission spectrum. To verify these numerical results, bowtie apertures are FIB milled in a silver film. Experimental transmission measurements agree with simulation data. Based on this result, nanoscale bowtie apertures can be optimized to realize deep sub-wavelength confinement with high transmission efficiency with applications to nanolithography, data storage, and bio-chemical sensing.