Summary: Journal of Electroceramics, 12, 5368, 2004
C 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Manufactured in The Netherlands.
Submicrometer-Scale Patterning of Ceramic Thin Films
C.R. MARTIN & I.A. AKSAY
Department of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-5263, USA
Abstract. The patterning of ceramic thin films is of great interest for use in MEMS and other applications.
However, the complex chemistries of certain materials make the use of traditional photolithography techniques
prohibitive. In this paper, a number of low-cost, high throughput techniques for the patterning of ceramic thin films
derived from chemical solution precursors, such as sol-gels and ceramic slurries, are presented. A particular emphasis
is placed on methods that are derived from soft lithographic methods using elastomer molds. Two categories of
techniques are discussed: first, the focus is on methods that rely on the principles of confinement within the physical
features of the mold to define the pattern on the substrate surface. Then, subtractive patterning techniques that rely
on transferring a pattern to a spin-cast, large-area continuous thin film are described. While most techniques have
been demonstrated with fidelities on the order of 100 nm, their inability to precisely register and align the patterns
as part of a hierarchical fabrication scheme have thus far hindered their commercial implementation.
Keywords: patterning, ceramic, thin films
The advent of the electronic age has been the pri-
mary driving force for the development of thin film
technologies for semiconductor applications, includ-