Publication Details

O'Connell, CD, Higgins, MJ, Nakashima, H, Moulton, SE & Wallace, GG (2012), Vapor phase polymerization of EDOT from submicrometer scale oxidant patterned by dip-pen nanolithography, Langmuir: the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids, 28(26), pp. 9953-9960.


Some of the most exciting recent advances in conducting polymer synthesis have centered around the method of vapor phase polymerization (VPP) of thin films. However, it is not known whether the VPP process can proceed using significantly reduced volumes of oxidant and therefore be implemented as part of nanolithography approach. Here, we present a strategy for submicrometer scale patterning of the conducting polymer poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) via in situ VPP. Attolitre (10-18 L) volumes of oxidant "ink" are controllably deposited using dip-pen nanolithography (DPN). DPN patterning of the oxidant ink is facilitated by the incorporation of an amphiphilic block copolymer thickener, an additive that also assists with stabilization of the oxidant. When exposed to EDOT monomer in a VPP chamber, each deposited feature localizes the synthesis of conducting PEDOT structures of several micrometers down to 250 nm in width. PEDOT patterns are characterized by atomic force microscopy (AFM), conductive AFM, two probe electrical measurement, and micro-Raman spectroscopy, evidencing in situ vapor phase synthesis of conducting polymer at a scale (picogram) which is much smaller than that previously reported. Although the process of VPP on this scale was achieved, we highlight some of the challenges that need to be overcome to make this approach feasible in an applied setting.



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