Advanced Functional Materials

Preparation of metallic films on elastomeric stamps and their application for contact processing and contact printing

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The formation of permanent or reversible metallic patterns on a substrate has applications in microfabrication and analytical techniques. Here, we investigate how to metallize an elastomeric stamp, either for processing of a substrate mediated by the proximity between the metal on the stamp and an active layer on the substrate, or for contact printing of the metal from a stamp to a substrate. The stamps were made from poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) and were modified before metallizing them with Au by adding to or removing from their bulk mobile silicone residues, by oxidizing their surfaces with an O2-plasma, by surface-fluorination via silanization, or by priming them with a Ti layer. The interplay between the adhesion of the different layers defines two categories of application: contact processing and contact printing. Contact processing corresponds to keeping the metal on the stamp after contacting a substrate; it is reversible and nondestructive, and useful to define transient electrical contacts or quench fluorescence on a surface, for example. Contact printing occurs when the metal on the stamp adheres to the printed surface. Contact printing can transfer a metal, layers of metals, or an oxide onto a substrate with submicrometer lateral resolution. The transfer can be total or localized to the regions of contact, depending on the morphology of the metal on the stamp and/or the surface chemistry of the substrate.