Patterning of supported gold monolayers via chemical lift-off lithography
The supported monolayer of Au that accompanies alkanethiolate molecules removed by polymer stamps during chemical lift-off lithography is a scarcely studied hybrid material. We show that these Au–alkanethiolate layers on poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) are transparent, functional, hybrid interfaces that can be patterned over nanometer, micrometer, and millimeter length scales. Unlike other ultrathin Au films and nanoparticles, lifted-off Au–alkanethiolate thin films lack a measurable optical signature. We therefore devised fabrication, characterization, and simulation strategies by which to interrogate the nanoscale structure, chemical functionality, stoichiometry, and spectral signature of the supported Au–thiolate layers. The patterning of these layers laterally encodes their functionality, as demonstrated by a fluorescence-based approach that relies on dye-labeled complementary DNA hybridization. Supported thin Au films can be patterned via features on PDMS stamps (controlled contact), using patterned Au substrates prior to lift-off (e.g., selective wet etching), or by patterning alkanethiols on Au substrates to be reactive in selected regions but not others (controlled reactivity). In all cases, the regions containing Au–alkanethiolate layers have a sub-nanometer apparent height, which was found to be consistent with molecular dynamics simulations that predicted the removal of no more than 1.5 Au atoms per thiol, thus presenting a monolayer-like structure.
chemical patterning; hybrid material; monolayer; soft lithography; two-dimensional material