Localized Physical Vapor Deposition via Focused Laser Spike Dewetting of Gold Thin Films for Nanoscale Patterning

Tianxing Ma, Michael P. Nitzsche, Arielle R. Gamboa, Valeria Saro-Cortes, Jonathan P. Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Focused laser spike (FLaSk) excitation has been demonstrated as a reliable technique for the patterning of micro-to-nanoscale features locally by thermocapillary shear of thin films. Recent work on polymer thin films has revealed that overlapping laser scans can leverage coupled thermal and fluid effects to create subwavelength patterns. Compared to polymeric films, metallic thin films possess both a lower melt viscosity and higher surface tension. Here, we investigate overlapping effects in the dewetting of ∼15 nm gold thin films on borosilicate and quartz glass substrates with a 532 nm continuous wave laser. During this process, FLaSk initiates capillary and thermocapillary dewetting simultaneously. Further, the low oxidation potential and high vapor pressure of gold lead to nonequilibrium vaporization during heating. Since the parameters of overlapping scans control the amount of material that is heated and to what temperature it is heated, selection of laser power, scanning distance, writing speed, and numerical aperture results in particles with different sizes and spacing deposited on the writing substrates or a positioned superstrate through a laser-induced localized physical vapor deposition (LILPVD) process. If the laser parameters are selected within a specific working range, uniform or periodic particle distributions can be repeatably deposited in this fashion, which can then be used as seeds for nanomaterial growth. In addition, if the substrate melts during FLaSk, the viscous force of the liquid-on-liquid dewetting broadens the range of patterning conditions by resisting the motion of the gold leading to more uniform particles over a large range of parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-597
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 25 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)


  • dewetting
  • focused laser
  • gold
  • nanoparticles
  • physical vapor deposition
  • thin film

Cite this