Among the myriad microfabrication approaches, Deep X-ray Lithography (DXRL) takes advantage of the high penetration depth of hard X-rays. For the first time, this feature has been exploited for the precise control of surface chemical functionalities on a thick porous ceramic material. As a proof of concept, porous alumina membranes with controlled thickness (50 μm) have been chosen to test the potential of DXRL. The Al2O3 membranes were decorated with fluoro- and amino-silanes. These functionalized ceramic membranes were exposed to hard X-rays in a synchrotron facility, which allowed for the selective decomposition of the chemical functionalities in controlled areas. The water contact angle of hydrophobic-functionalized samples was measured to confirm the decomposition of the fluoro-silane in the exposed area, and water diffusion through the 200 nm pores of the alumina membranes was observed to occur only in the exposed area. The patterned amino-functionalized Al2O3 samples were tested with an alcoholic solution containing Au cations, where it was found that gold nanoparticles only formed in the unexposed areas, whereas the amino functionality survived the radiation damage induced by the X-rays.
- Advanced Materials Science