The deposition of noble metals on soft and/or flexible substrates is vital for several emerging applications including flexible electronics and the fabrication of soft bionic implants. In this paper, we describe a new strategy for the deposition of platinum electrodes on a range of materials, including insulators and flexible polymers. The strategy is enabled by two principle advances: (1) the introduction of a novel, low temperature strategy for reducing chloroplatinic acid to platinum using nitrogen plasma; (2) the development of a chloroplatinic acid based liquid ink formulation, utilizing ethylene glycol as both ink carrier and reducing agent, for versatile printing at nanoscale resolution using dip-pen nanolithography (DPN). The ink formulation has been printed and reduced upon Si, glass, ITO, Ge, PDMS, and Parylene C. The plasma treatment effects reduction of the precursor patterns in situ without subjecting the substrate to destructively high temperatures. Feature size is controlled via dwell time and degree of ink loading, and platinum features with 60 nm dimensions could be routinely achieved on Si. Reduction of the ink to platinum was confirmed by energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) elemental analysis and x-ray diffraction (XRD) measurements. Feature morphology was characterized by optical microscopy, SEM and AFM. The high electrochemical activity of individually printed Pt features was characterized using scanning electrochemical microscopy (SECM).
ARC/FL110100196, ARC/FF0669110, ARC/DP110104359, ARC/DP0987344