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Nanotip Carpets as Antireflection SurfacesCarpet-like random arrays of metal-coated silicon nanotips have been shown to be effective as antireflection surfaces. Now undergoing development for incorporation into Sun sensors that would provide guidance for robotic exploratory vehicles on Mars, nanotip carpets of this type could also have many uses on Earth as antireflection surfaces in instruments that handle or detect ultraviolet, visible, or infrared light. In the original Sun-sensor application, what is required is an array of 50-micron-diameter apertures on what is otherwise an opaque, minimally reflective surface, as needed to implement a miniature multiple-pinhole camera. The process for fabrication of an antireflection nanotip carpet for this application (see Figure 1) includes, and goes somewhat beyond, the process described in A New Process for Fabricating Random Silicon Nanotips (NPO-40123), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 1 (November 2004), page 62. In the first step, which is not part of the previously reported process, photolithography is performed to deposit etch masks to define the 50-micron apertures on a silicon substrate. In the second step, which is part of the previously reported process, the non-masked silicon area between the apertures is subjected to reactive ion etching (RIE) under a special combination of conditions that results in the growth of fluorine-based compounds in randomly distributed formations, known in the art as "polymer RIE grass," that have dimensions of the order of microns. The polymer RIE grass formations serve as microscopic etch masks during the next step, in which deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) is performed. What remains after DRIE is the carpet of nano - tips, which are high-aspect-ratio peaks, the tips of which have radii of the order of nanometers. Next, the nanotip array is evaporatively coated with Cr/Au to enhance the absorption of light (more specifically, infrared light in the Sun-sensor application). The photoresist etch masks protecting the apertures are then removed by dipping the substrate into acetone. Finally, for the Sun-sensor application, the back surface of the substrate is coated with a 57-nm-thick layer of Cr for attenuation of sunlight.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Document Type
Other - NASA Tech Brief
Bae, Youngsam
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Mobasser, Sohrab
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Manohara, Harish
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Lee, Choonsup
(California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 2008
Publication Information
Publication: NASA Tech Briefs, September 2008
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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