Near-Field Induced Reversible Structuring of Photosensitive Polymer Films: Gold Versus Silver Nano-antennas
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We report on reversible structuring of photosensitive azo-containing polymer films induced by near-field intensity patterns emanating from illuminated nano-scale metal structures fabricated by colloidal lithography. Two different sets of these nano-antennas, consisting of either gold or silver, were investigated with respect to their ability to induce topography changes in a photosensitive polymer film placed above. Using in situ recorded atomic force microscopy micrographs of polymer topography changes during UV irradiation, we find that the response of the polymer film differs for the two metals at similar geometries of the metal nanostructures. The maximum topography change is stronger for Ag antennas as compared to the Au pattern, whereas the latter material revealed a pronounced splitting of topography maxima into two, a phenomenon less visible in the case of Ag. Finite difference time domain simulations of the electromagnetic field distribution in the vicinity of the metal structures confirm this remarkable observation. The local intensity is twice as large for the Ag as compared to the Au structures, and in each case, a splitting of the intensity pattern results, with a stronger modulation for Au. For both metals, the topography change was found to be reversible between a patterned and a flat by repeated change of irradiation conditions.