Continuous Nanoparticle Assembly by a Modulated Photo-Induced Microbubble for Fabrication of Micrometric Conductive Patterns

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The laser-induced microbubble technique (LIMBT) has recently been developed for micro-patterning of various materials. In this method, a laser beam is focused on a dispersion of nanoparticles leading to the formation of a microbubble due to laser heating. Convection currents around the microbubble carry nanoparticles so that they become pinned to the bubble/substrate interface. The major limitation of this technique is that for most materials, a noncontinuous deposition is formed. We show that continuous patterns can be formed by preventing the microbubble from being pinned to the deposited material. This is done by modulating the laser so that the construction and destruction of the microbubble are controlled. When the method is applied to a dispersion of Ag nanoparticles, continuous electrically conductive lines are formed. Furthermore, the line width is narrower than that achieved by the standard nonmodulated LIMBT. This approach can be applied to the direct-write fabrication of micron-size conductive patterns in electronic devices without the use of photolithography.
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