This paper demonstrates that the pattern of silver particles embedded in the gelatin matrix of exposed and developed silver halide-based photographic film can serve as a template in a broadly applicable method for the microfabrication of metallic microstructures. In this method, a CAD file is reproduced in the photographic film by exposure and developing. The resulting pattern of discontinuous silver grains is augmented and made electrically continuous by electroless deposition of silver, and the electrically continuous structure is then used as the cathode for electrochemical deposition of an additional layer of the same or different metal. The overall process can be completed within 2 h, starting from a CAD file, and can generate electrically continuous structures with the smallest dimension in the plane of the film of ~30 μm. Structures with aspect ratio of up to 5 can also be obtained by using the metallic structures as photomasks in photolithography using SU-8 photoresist on the top of the electroplated pattern and exposed from the bottom, followed by development and electroplating through the patterned photoresist. This method of fabrication uses readily available equipment and makes it possible to develop prototypes of a wide variety of metallic structures and devices. The resulting structures - either supported on the film backing or freed from it - are appropriate for use as passive, structural materials such as wire frames or meshes and can also be used in microfluidic, microanalytical, and microelectromechanical systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Analytical Chemistry