In technology, soft lithography is a family of techniques for fabricating or replicating structures using "elastomeric stamps, molds, and conformable photomasks". It is called "soft" because it uses elastomeric materials, most notably PDMS.
Soft lithography is generally used to construct features measured on the micrometer to nanometer scale. According to Rogers and Nuzzo (2005), development of soft lithography expanded rapidly from 1995 to 2005. Soft lithography tools are now commercially available.
- Lower cost than traditional photolithography in mass production
- Well-suited for applications in biotechnology
- Well-suited for applications in plastic electronics
- Well-suited for applications involving large or nonplanar (nonflat) surfaces
- More pattern-transferring methods than traditional lithography techniques (more "ink" options)
- Does not need a photo-reactive surface to create a nanostructure
- Smaller details than photolithography in laboratory settings (~30 nm vs ~100 nm). The resolution depends on the mask used and can reach 6 nm.
- Xia, Y.; Whitesides, G. M. (1998). "Soft Lithography". Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 37 (5): 551–575. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1521-3773(19980316)37:5<550::AID-ANIE550>3.0.CO;2-G. Archived from the original on 2011-08-12.
- Xia, Y.; Whitesides, G. M. (1998). "Soft Lithography. In". Annu. Rev. Mater. Sci. 28: 153–184. Bibcode:1998AnRMS..28..153X. doi:10.1146/annurev.matsci.28.1.153.
- Quake, S. R.; Scherer, A. (2000). "From micro- to nanofabrication with soft materials". Science. 290 (5496): 1536–1540. Bibcode:2000Sci...290.1536Q. doi:10.1126/science.290.5496.1536. PMID 11090344.
- Rogers, J. A.; Nuzzo, R. G. (2005). "February). Recent progress in soft lithography. In". Materials Today. 8 (2): 50–56. doi:10.1016/S1369-7021(05)00702-9.