A method is presented to control the in-plane ordering, size, and interparticle distance of nanoparticles fabricated by evaporation through a mask of colloidal particles. The use of optical tweezers combined with critical point drying gives single-particle position control over the colloidal particles in the mask. This extends the geometry of the colloidal masks from (self-organized) hexagonal to any desired symmetry and spacing. Control over the mask's hole size is achieved by MeV ion irradiation, which causes the colloids to expand in the in-plane direction, thus shrinking the size of the holes. After modification of the mask, evaporation at different angles with respect to the mask gives additional control over structure and interparticle distance, allowing nanoparticles of different materials to be deposited next to each other. We demonstrate large arrays of metal nanoparticles with dimensions in the 15−30 nm range, with control over the interparticle distance and in-plane ordering.

Nano Lett.
Photonic Materials

Vossen, D. L. J., Fific, D., Penninkhof, J. J., van Dillen, T., Polman, A., & van Blaaderen, A. (2005). Combined optical tweezers/ion beam technique to tune colloidal masks for nanolithography. Nano Lett., 5, 1175–1179. doi:10.1021/nl050421k