The role of hydrophobic silane coating on Si stamps in nanoimprint lithography

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Hydrophobic silane coatings have been successfully applied to the surface of Si stamps to improve demolding in nanoimprint lithography (NIL). However, the role of the silane coating has only been studied either indirectly, by measuring adhesion or friction coefficients for Si and substrate surfaces without patterns, or collectively, by measuring the overall demolding force that does not differentiate contributions of friction dissipation, stored elastic energy, and adhesion. Here, for the first time, we present experimental evidence on the role of the silane coating in improving demolding in UV-NIL by using different silane coatings. The silane coatings were characterized by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, water contact angle, and friction force measurements. Then, the work of demolding was systematically measured for different silane coatings using stamps with the same micropattern but different pattern depths. Comparison of the results to the theoretical model developed for fiber-matrix debonding energy by Sutcu and Hillig [Acta Metall. Mater. 12), 2653-2662] indicated that with a hydrophobic silane coating, the main parameter contributing to overall demolding work shifts from adhesion to stored elastic energy and frictional dissipation as surface adhesion keeps decreasing. The results confirm that the main role of the silane coating in reducing the demolding is to reduce surface adhesion rather than friction at the stamp/substrate interface.

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Journal of applied physics

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