Vol.1, No.3, 176-180 (2009)
SciRes Copyright © 2009 Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/NS/
Natural Science
Fabrication of two-dimensional periodic TiO2 pillar
arrays by multi-beam laser interference lithography
Hiroyo Segawa1, Hiroaki Misawa2
1Exploratory Nanomaterials Research Laboratory, National Institute for Materials Science, Tsukuba, Japan
2Research Institute for Electronic Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
Received 19 August 2009; revised 21 September 2009; accepted 22 September 2009.
Two-dimensional (2D) periodic TiO2 pillar arrays,
applicable to photonic crystals and micro-
channels, were fabricated by direct patterning
of a TiO2-organic hybrid material by multi-beam
laser interference lithography and calcination of
hybrid patterns. 2D periodic pillars of a TiO2
organic hybrid material were prepared by irra-
diation with the interference pattern of femto-
second laser beams and removal of the non-
irradiated portions. Two types of periodic pillar
arrays, standing pillars and top-gathering pillars
(four pillars gathered at the top), were obtained,
depending on laser irradiation conditions. After
calcination of TiO2–organic hybrid pillars, TiO2
pillar arrays were obtained without collapse.
Keywords: Lithography, Capillary Force, Assembly
Two-dimensional (2D) periodic arrays of dielectric ma-
terials with submicrometer to micrometer repetitions
have great potential in various applications, such as dif-
fraction gratings [1], photonic crystals (PCs) [2,3], and
molecular separation in a microchannel [4,5]. Most of
these arrays are fabricated by lithography, in which di-
electric materials are coated with photoresists, the photo-
resist patterns are fabricated by beams such as electron
beams, lasers, and beams of UV light, and the patterns of
the dielectric material are chemically etched in the area
not covered by the photoresist. The patterns of the di-
electric materials do not feature a high aspect ratio (pat-
tern height to pitch), and complex patterns, e.g.,three-
dimensional (3D) patterns, cannot be obtained easily,
because dielectric materials are generally stable for
chemical etchants.
However, patterns such as pillars [6,7], waveguides [8,
9,10], and diffraction gratings [11], can be fabricated in
organic–inorganic hybrid materials by direct lithography.
Organic–inorganic hybrid materials prepared by the
sol–gel method are composed of inorganic networks
modified with photosensitive organic molecules such as
unsaturated hydrocarbons or β-diketonato ligands. When
the hybrid films are exposed to UV light or a laser, pho-
tosensitive organic groups react, and the solubility of the
exposed parts in alcohol decreases. Removing the unex-
posed portions produces the patterns of hybrid materials.
Hybrid materials are generally more flexible than in-
organic materials due to the characteristics of the organic
groups; therefore, they have been used to fabricate many
types of thick films with thickness greater than 1 μm.
Most thick films are prepared by the sol–gel method,
using organosiloxanes, in which one or two alkoxyl
groups of the silicone alkoxide change to functional or-
ganic groups. However, it is known to be difficult to
fabricate thick films without using organosiloxane.
In our previous work, different types of photosensitive
TiO2–organic hybrid films were prepared by the sol–gel
method [12,13,14]. TiO2 hybrid films were prepared
from a Ti alkoxide, and modified with a β-diketone and/
or an unsaturated hydrocarbon. Two types of TiO2 hy-
brid dot arrays, with a pitch spacing of 1.3 μm and a
height of about 250–300 nm, were directly fabricated by
multi-beam laser interference (MLI) lithography. In this
method, photosensitive materials are exposed to the in-
terference light pattern and developed in an appropriate
solvent [13,14]. One type was fabricated by multi-pho-
ton absorption (MPA) of a femtosecond laser at 800 nm,
while another was fabricated by a nanosecond laser at
351 nm. Hybrid films with a thickness of about 1 μm
were used for the lithography; however, the light for
photopolymerization was absorbed in the film, and
moreover, photopolymerization did not occur over the
entire film. Both types of TiO2–organic hybrid dot arrays
were calcined, and TiO2 arrays were fabricated without
collapse or exfoliation; however, patterns with a high
aspect ratio could not be produced.
MPA is a well-known method of fabricating complex
patterns by photopolymerization of organic compounds
[15,16]. If MPA was used for producing patterns in
H. Segawa et al. / Natural Science 1 (2009) 176-180
SciRes Copyright © 2009 Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/NS/
Figure 1. Flowchart of experimental procedure.
thick organic-inorganic hybrid films by lithography,
fabrication of 3D patterns with a high aspect ratio would
be possible. The hybrid materials could be easily chang-
ed to ceramics by calcination, resulting in complex cera-
mic patterns.
In this study, 2D periodic pillar arrays of TiO2 with a
high aspect ratio were fabricated directly from TiO2
organic hybrid films with a thickness greater than 1 μm,
using the MLI technique and by calcination of the or-
ganic groups.
A flowchart of the experimental procedure is shown in
Figure 1. A TiO2–organic hybrid gel film with a thickness
greater than 1 μm was prepared by the sol–gel method
[14]. Titanium tetra-n-butoxide (Ti(O-nBu)4, Kishida
Chemical Co.) was reacted with 2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl
acetoacetate (MEAcAc, Acros Organics); the molar ratio
between Ti(O-nBu)4 and MEAcAc was 1:1. After stirring
the solution for 15 min at room temperature, H2O was
poured into the solution; the molar ratio between H2O and
Ti(O-nBu)4 was 2:1. The solution was stirred for 3 hat
room temperature. The sol was then spin-coated at 1000
rpm for 20 sec on glass substrates. The hybrid film was
baked at 80°C for 10 min.
The film was then exposed to the interference pattern
of femtosecond laser pulses. The optical setup has been
described previously [17]. In brief, a diffractive beam
splitter (G1023A, MEMS Optical Inc.) divided the input
laser beam into four beams, which were then collected
on the film using two lenses. The femtosecond pulses
were produced by a Ti:sapphire regenerative amplifier
(800-nm wavelength, 150-fs pulse duration, 1-kHz repe-
tition rate). The single-pulse energy (sum of all beams)
was 20–35 μJ. After laser irradiation for 1–10 min, the
films were developed in 2-ethoxyethanol for 1 min to
remove the non-irradiated portions. After dryingthe
2-ethoxyethanol, the TiO2–organic hybrid arrays re-
Figure 2. UV-VIS spectrum of TiO2–organic
hybrid film.
mained on the substrates. The hybrid arrays were cal-
cined at 450 °C for 1 h, finally producing TiO2 arrays.
The periodic arrays before and after calcination were
imaged by ascanning electron microscope (SEM; JSM-
6700FT, JEOL).
A UV-VIS spectrum of the prepared hybrid film was
measured by a spectrometer (JASCO, V-570). The hy-
brid film was calcined at 120–750 °C for 1h, and refrac-
tive indices of the film after calcination were measured
at 632.8 nm with a Metricon 2010 prism coupler.
Figure 2 shows the UV-VIS spectrum of the TiO2–or-
ganic hybrid film. In the spectrum, the increase in ab-
sorption around 400 nm might be assigned to the dike-
tonate chelate between MEAcAc and Ti(OBu)4 [14]. As
seen in Figure 2, the laser light at 800 nm was not ab-
sorbed by the hybrid film.
Typical SEM images of the TiO2–organic hybrid pil-
lar arrays are shown in Figure 3. In Figure 3a, 3b, and
3c, the pillar arrays were obtained by irradiation with a
30-μJ single-pulse for 100, 140, and 300 sec, respec-
tively. In the pillar arrays of Figure 3a, all pillars are
gathered at the top, and top-gathering units composed of
four (2 × 2) pillars are arranged periodically. In Figure
3b, all pillars are standing vertically on the substrate,
and are arranged tetragonal, which corresponds to the
light distribution. In Figure 3c, many pillars are gath-
ered without any empty space between pillars, and have
adhered to each other. The pillar diameter increased with
increased laser irradiation time. When the laser irradia-
tion time increases, the photopolymerization of the hy-
brid film proceeds, leaving a wider area on the substrate
after development, resulting in thicker pillars. In Figure
3, the pillar arrays were fabricated on 1.4-μm thick films,
and the height of the pillars was 1.4 μm. The height of
pillars were improved from previous ones [14] and as-
pect ratio of the pillars became high. This represents that
H. Segawa et al. / Natural Science 1 (2009) 176-180
SciRes Copyright © 2009 Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/NS/
Figure 3. SEM images of typical TiO2–organic
hybrid pillar arrays fabricated by 30-μJ irradiation
for (a) 100, (b) 140, and (c) 300 sec.
the photopolymerizaion occurred in the whole film by
the two-photon absorption of the laser light, which were
not absorbed by the hybrid film.
Figure 3 shows that the pillars gathered at the top
when their diameter was either too small or too large.
The gathering phenomenon is explained by the balance
between the cohesive and restoring forces, which works
on the pillars during the drying of 2-ethoxyethanol.
When 2-ethoxyethanol dries after the development, a
cohesive force is induced by the capillary force among
the pillars, causing the pillars to approach each other.
For periodic pillar arrays, in which pillars of height lz
and radius R are arranged with distance ly between pillar
centers, the capillary force P is expressed as [18]
(1/ )
where σ is the surface tension, θ is the contact angle of
the developer, and D = ly 2R is the gap size. The pro-
jection distance d (along the capillary force) corresponds
to the distance between the liquid–pillar contact point
and the pillar edge [d 0 at non-wetting condition (θ =
π/2), and d R at full wetting condition (θ = 0)]. When
the pillars bend due to capillary force, the restoring force,
F, operates. Assuming that the pillars are regarded as an
elastic beam supported at one end, the force F can be
expressed as [19]
where the E is the Young’s modulus of the pillars, and is
the sway value.
When the pillar is excessively thin, the gap D is larger
and R is smaller than those of the thick pillars. Thus, the
capillary force is smaller, according to Eq.1. From Eq.2,
the restoring power is also smaller than that for thick
pillars. However, a comparison between Eqs.1 and 2
indicates that the diameter might affect the restoring
force more than the capillary force. Therefore, the pillars
gather at the top, as shown in Figure 3(a). On the other
hand, the capillary force between thick pillars (from Eq.
1) is larger than that between thin pillars because of the
smaller gap size, D, and larger radius, R. Thus, from Eq.
2, the restoring force increases. As shown in Figure 3(c),
the neighboring pillars seem to adhere to each other.
This means that the laser irradiation time was too long to
photopolymerize a wide area similar to the area filled
with pillars; therefore, the pillars gather and adhere to
each other.
Although the films had many cracks after calcination,
the refractive index of the film is plotted as a function of
calcination temperature in Figure 4. The refractive index
of the film increases with an increase in calcination
temperature. The highest value achieved by calcination
Figure 4. Refractive indices of film for
different calcination temperatures.
H. Segawa et al. / Natural Science 1 (2009) 176-180
SciRes Copyright © 2009 Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/NS/
Figure 5. SEM images of TiO2 pillar arrays
fabricated by irradiation at 30 μJ for (a) 100 and
(b) 140 sec followed by calcination at 450 °C for 1h.
at 750 °C was 2.31-smaller than the refractive index of
anatase (2.55) [20]. Since the films had cracks, the re-
fractive indices might be assumed to be smaller than
those of a dense TiO2 film.
To investigate changes in morphology, SEM images
of the periodic pillars calcined at 450 °C are shown in
Figure 5. Figure 5(a) and (b) were calcined at 450 °C
the TiO2–organic hybrid arrays which were shown in
Figure 3(a) and (b), respectively.The top-gathering pil-
lars in Figure 5(a) were calcined, after which they re-
tained the top-gathering structure, although the size be-
came smaller. Figure 5(b) shows that the pillar size de-
creased after calcination. The several kinds of organic
compounds were remained in the hybrid pillars before
calcination, and those were decomposed by the heating
and removed. Thus, the pillars shrunk after the calcina-
tion. As shown in Figure 5, the pillars did not collapse.
Generally, films without patterns were restricted by the
substrate and subjected to large stresses during the cal-
cination, resulting in the many cracks. In this case, the
pillars were small not to restrict by the substrate and
could shrink without stress during calcination.
XRD patterns of the periodic array after calcination at
450 °C are shown in Figure 6. All the peaks can be as-
signed to anatase. Figure 4 shows that the refractive
index of the film calcined at 450 °C was 2.04, which is
smaller than the reported value of anatase (2.55) [20].
However, the refractive index of the pillars might be
Figure 6. XRD pattern of TiO2 pillar arrays.
larger than that of the film, since the pillars appear
These results indicate that patterning of photosensitive
hybrid materials by lithography and calcination of hy-
brid materials are excellent methods of creating fine
patterns with high aspect ratios in ceramics. Generally,
the preparation of the photosensitive hybrid films with
chelate compounds are useful to obtain patterns of such
as ZrO2 [21] and PbZr0.52Ti0.48O3 (PZT) [22]. If thick
organic-inorganic hybrid films are obtained, complex
ceramic patterns can be easily produced by direct li-
thography of hybrid films and calcination of hybrid pat-
We produced TiO2 pillar arrays with a high aspect ratio
by MLI lithography and calcination. Pillars with a high
aspect ratio were successfully fabricated by the mul-
tiphoton absorption of a femtosecond laser. TiO2–or-
ganic hybrid pillar arrays were fabricated by MLI, and
two types of patterns, a periodic pillar array and a top-
gathering pillar array, were obtained, depending on the
laser irradiation time. The laser irradiation time affected
the balance between the cohesive and restoring forces
during the drying of the developer in lithography. After
calcination of the hybrid patterns, TiO2 patterns were
obtained without collapse. This suggests that direct li-
thography of organic–inorganic hybrid materials and
calcination can be applied to fabrication of complex pat-
erns in ceramics. t
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