In recent years, there has been a burgeoning interest in nanoscale surface patterning. Formation of highly ordered nanoscale surface features is demonstrated to have a critical impact in a wide variety of applications. This includes applications in sustainable energy (e.g. solar, thermoelectric, bioenergy), optics (e.g. supertransmisivity, plasmonic devices), sensors, as well as applications in antifouling (e.g. on maritime devices and vehicles) and antimicrobial activity (e.g. on medical devices and implants and food packaging) and in semiconductor industry.
Despite this well-known significance, well-ordered surface nanopatterning methods remain costly, low throughput, and primarily limited to 2D planar geometries of few select materials that are compatible with standard micro/nano-fabrication methods. Challenges in surface nanopatterning are even more pronounced, if the desired structures are below the diffraction limit of optical wavelength (~32 nm).
We have pioneered a novel surface nanopatterning method that enables formation of nanoscale surface features of various geometries on both planar and non-planar surfaces of a wide range of materials from metal alloys to ceramics. Controlled variation in process parameters enables generation of distinct nanoscale features including lines, dots, pyramids, crisscross patterns, etc. This process is extremely high throughput, low cost, and our results indicate that feature sizes as small as 2 nm can be generated on flat substrates, cylinders, cubes, as well as irregular shaped objects using this method.