Nanofluidic channels have promising applications in biomolecule manipulation and sensing. While several different methods of fabrication have been demonstrated for nanofluidic channels, a rapid, low-cost fabrication method that can fabricate arbitrary shapes of nanofluidic channels is still in demand. Here, we report a tip-based nanofabrication (TBN) method for fabricating nanofluidic channels using a heated atomic force microscopy (AFM) tip. The heated AFM tip deposits polymer nanowires where needed to serve as etch mask to fabricate silicon molds through one step of etching. PDMS nanofluidic channels are easily fabricated through replicate molding using the silicon molds. Various shapes of nanofluidic channels with either straight or curvilinear features are demonstrated. The width of the nanofluidic channels is 500 nm, and is determined by the deposited polymer nanowire width. The height of the channel is 400 nm determined by the silicon etching time. Ion conductance measurement on one single curvy shaped nanofluidic channel exhibits the typical ion conductance saturation phenomenon as the ion concentration decreases. Moreover, fluorescence imaging of fluid flowing through a fabricated nanofluidic channel demonstrates the channel integrity. This TBN process is seamlessly compatible with existing nanofabrication processes and can be used to achieve new types of nanofluidic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number455301
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 14 2014


  • heated atomic force microscope tip
  • heated cantilever
  • nanofabrication
  • nanofluidic channel
  • nanolithography
  • polystyrene
  • tip-based nanofabrication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Materials Science


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