The production of nanostructured plastic items by injection molding with ridges down to 400 nm in width, which is the smallest line width replicated from nanostructured steel shims, is presented. Here we detail a micro-fabrication method where electron beam lithography, nano-imprint lithography and ion beam etching are combined to nanostructure the planar surface of a steel wafer. Injection molded plastic parts with enhanced surface properties, like anti-reflective, superhydrophobic and structural colors can be achieved by micro-and nanostructuring the surface of the steel molds. We investigate the minimum line width that can be realized by our fabrication method and the influence of etching angle on the structure profile during the ion beam etching process. Trenches down to 400 nm in width have been successfully fabricated into a 316 type electro-polished steel wafer. Afterward a plastic replica has been produced by injection molding with good structure transfer fidelity. Thus we have demonstrated that by utilizing well-established fabrication techniques, nanostructured steel shims that are used in injection molding, a technique that allows low cost mass fabrication of plastic items, are produced.
Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering, 2014, Vol 24, Issue 5
Electron-beam lithography; Nano-imprint lithography; Ion beam etching; Injection molding