Polymer nanostructures were directly written onto substrates in ultra-high vacuum. The polymer ink was coated onto atomic force microscope (AFM) probes that could be heated to control the ink viscosity. Then, the ink-coated probes were placed into an ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) AFM and used to write polymer nanostructures on surfaces, including surfaces cleaned in UHV. Controlling the writing speed of the tip enabled the control over the number of monolayers of the polymer ink deposited on the surface from a single to tens of monolayers, with higher writing speeds generating thinner polymer nanostructures. Deposition onto silicon oxideterminated substrates led to polymer chains standing upright on the surface, whereas deposition onto vacuum reconstructed silicon yielded polymer chains aligned along the surface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-56
Number of pages5
JournalBeilstein Journal of Nanotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Additive lithography
  • Polymer
  • Scanning probe lithography
  • Ultra high vacuum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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  • Cite this

    Lee, W. K., Yang, M., Laracuente, A. R., King, W. P., Whitman, L. J., & Sheehan, P. E. (2012). Direct-write polymer nanolithography in ultra-high vacuum. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, 3(1), 52-56. https://doi.org/10.3762/bjnano.3.6