Probe-based nanolithography: Self-amplified depolymerization media for dry lithography

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A low temperature, organocatalytic method was developed to create polyphthalaldehydes of predictable molecular weights and narrow polydispersities. The polymerization were quenched with trichloroacetyl isocyanate (TCAI), known to react rapidly and quantitatively with hydroxyl chain ends preventing depolymerization as the reaction returns to room temperature. It was found that the lithographic patterning as demonstrated in a debris-free polymer decomposition reaction was triggered by the proximity of a heated probe. The results show that the process has been exploited to pattern large areas of a polymeric film with high throughput and resolution, demonstrating a first step to a low-cost, tabletop, and nanoscale patterning method.