Chemical Patterning of Ultrathin Polymer Films by Direct-Write Multiphoton Lithography
We applied 2-photon laser ablation to write subdiffraction nanoscale chemical patterns into ultrathin polymer films under ambient conditions. Poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate brush layers were prepared on quartz substrates via surface-initiated atom-transfer radical polymerization and ablated to expose the underlying substrate using the nonlinear 2-photon absorbance of a frequency-doubled Ti:sapphire femtosecond laser. Single-shot ablation thresholds of polymer films were ?1.5 times smaller than that of a quartz substrate, which allowed patterning of nanoscale features without damage to the underlying substrate. At a 1/e2 laser spot diameter of 0.86 ?m, the features of exposed substrate approached ?80 nm, well below the diffraction limit for 400 nm light. Ablated features were chemically distinct and amenable to chemical modification.