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Removal of nanoparticles from plain and patterned surfaces using nanobubbles

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Author: Yang, S. · Duisterwinkel, A.E.
Source:Langmuir, 18, 27, 11430-11435
Identifier: 435964
Keywords: Nanotechnology · High Tech Systems & Materials · Industrial Innovation · Physics & Electronics · NI - Nano Instrumentation · TS - Technical Sciences


It is the aim of this paper to quantitatively characterize the capability of surface nanobubbles for surface cleaning, i.e., removal of nanodimensioned polystyrene particles from the surface. We adopt two types of substrates: plain and nanopatterned (trench/ridge) silicon wafer. The method used to generate nanobubbles on the surfaces is the so-called alcohol-water exchange process (use water to flush a surface that is already covered by alcohol). It is revealed that nanobubbles are generated on both surfaces, and have a remarkably high coverage on the nanopatterns. In particular, we show that nanoparticles are-in the event of nanobubble occurrence-removed efficiently from both surfaces. The result is compared with other bubble-free wet cleaning techniques, i.e., water rinsing, alcohol rinsing, and water-alcohol exchange process (use alcohol to flush a water-covered surface, generating no nanobubbles) which all cause no or very limited removal of nanoparticles. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and helium ion microscopy (HIM) are employed for surface inspection. Nanobubble formation and the following nanoparticle removal are monitored with atomic force microscopy (AFM) operated in liquid, allowing for visualization of the two events.