Nanoreplica molding

The nanoreplica molding process provides the ability to generate patterns and structures on the nanometer scale. This method is useful for making photonic devices that control light in the sub-wavelength regime.  The molding process uses a rigid “master” structure and a photo-curable liquid polymer material. This molding process may be performed at room temperature without requiring the exertion of a large force.  As a result, high-precision structures with nanometer-scale features may be fabricated at low cost within minutes and can be used as single-use, disposable devices.

A wide range of materials can be used with nanoreplica molding; this includes high-refractive-index dielectric materials, electro-optic materials, conducting electrodes, conducting electrodes, ionized gas, and biocompatible polymers.  Nanoreplica molding has been utilized in essentially all of our work, where we have demonstrated the ability to pattern structures ranging from nanometer-scale photonic structures to micrometer-scale structures.  Applications in which nanoreplica molding is used include highly sensitive photonic crystal (PC) biosensors, PC-enhanced fluorescence devices, PC-incorporated microfluidic devices, high-density microplasma displays, tunable PC reflectance filters, and biodegradable chitosan nanofibers for cartilage replacement therapy.


  1. “A Plastic Colorimetric Resonant Optical Biosensor for Multiparallel Detection of Label-Free Biochemical Interactions,” B.T. Cunningham, B. Lin, J. Qiu, P. Li, J. Pepper, and B. Hugh, Sensors and Actuators B, Vol. 85, No. 3, 219-226, November 2002.
  2. “Photonic Crystal Near UV Reflectance Filters Fabricated by Nano Replica Molding,” N. Ganesh and B.T. Cunningham, Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 88, No. 7, 2006, 071110-071113
  3. “Photonic Crystal Optical Biosensor Incorporating Structured Low-Index Porous Dielectric,” I.D. Block, L.L. Chan, and B.T. Cunningham, Sensors and Actuators, B: Chemical, Vol. 120, No. 1, Dec. 14, 2006, 187-193.
  4. “Single-step fabrication of photonic crystal biosensors with polymer microfluidic channels by a replica molding process,” C.J. Choi and B.T. Cunningham, Lab-On-A-Chip, Vol. 6, 1373-1380, 2006.
  5. “Large-Area Submicron Replica Molding of Porous Low-k Dielectric Films and Application to Photonic Crystal Biosensor Fabrication,” I.D. Block, L.L. Chan, and B.T. Cunningham, Microelectronic Engineering, Vol. 84, No. 4, 603-608, 2007.
  6. “Microplasma devices and arrays fabricated by plastic-based replica molding,” M. Lu, S.-J. Park, J.G. Eden, and B.T. Cunningham, JMEMS, Vol. 16, No. 6, 1397-1402, 2007.
  7. “A 96-well microplate incorporating a replica molded microfluidic network integrated with photonic crystal biosensors for high throughput kinetic biomolecular interaction analysis,” C.J. Choi and B.T. Cunningham, Lab On A Chip, Vol. 7, 550-556, 2007.
  8. “A Replica Molding Technique for Producing Fibrous Chitosan Scaffolds for Cartilage Engineering,” G.J. Slavik, G. Ragetly, N. Ganesh, D.J. Griffon, and B.T. Cunningham, Journal of Materials Chemistry, Vol. 17, 4095-4101, 2007.
  9. “High Sensitivity Plastic-Substrate Photonic Crystal Biosensor,” I.D. Block, M.F. Pineda, C.J. Choi, and B.T. Cunningham, IEEE Sensors Journal, Vol. 8, No. 9, 1546-1547, 2008.
  10. “Low temperature plasma channels generated in microcavity trenches with widths 20-150 um and aspect rations as large as 10000:1,” M. Lu, S.-J. Park, B.T. Cunningham, and J.G. Eden, Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 92, 101928, 2008.
  11. “Label free biosensor incorporating a replica-molded, vertically emitting distributed feedback laser,” M. Lu, S.S. Choi, C.J. Wagner, J.G. Eden, and B.T. Cunningham, Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 92, 261502, 2008.
  12. “Plastic distributed feedback laser biosensor,” M. Lu, S.S. Choi, U. Irfan, and B.T. Cunningham, Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 93, No. 11, 111113 (DOI 10.1063/1.2987484), published online September 18, 2008.
  13. “Sensing micrometer-scale deformations vias stretching of a photonic crystal,” N.L. Privorotskaya, C.J. Choi, B.T. Cunningham, and W.P. King, Sensors and Actuators A, Vol. 161, 66-71, 2010.
  14. “Surface-enhanced raman nanodomes,” C.J. Choi, A. Xu, H.-Y. Wu, L. Liu, and B.T. Cunningham, Nanotechnology, Vol 21, 415301, 2010, DOI: 10.1088/0957-4484/21/41/415301.
  15. “Enhanced quantum dot optical downconversion using asymmetric 2D photonic crystals,” F. Yang and B.T. Cunningham, Optics Express, Vol. 19, No. 5, 3908-3918, 2011.
  16. “Plastic-based distributed feedback laser biosensors in microplate format,” Y. Tan, A. Chou, C. Ge, M. Lu, W. Goldshlag, J. Huang, A. Pokhriyal, S. George, and B.T. Cunningham, IEEE Sensors Journal, Accepted, July 2011.