Vacuum ultraviolet smoothing of nanometer-scale asperities of Poly(methyl methacrylate) surface
Smoothing of the nanometer-scale asperities of a poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) film using vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) with the wavelength λ = 123.6 nm was studied. The exposure time and the residual air pressure in an working chamber were varied during the process of VUV treatment. A nanostructured surface of PMMA film is used as a sample to be exposed. The nanostructured surface of the PMMA film was obtained by treating the initially smooth spin-coated film in oxygen radio-frequency plasma. The degree of VUV exposure is estimated using changes in the morphology and roughness of the nanostructured surface, which were determined by atomic-force microscopy (AFM). Recognition of morphological surface features on the AFM-images and determination of main geometrical characteristics of these features are performed by using virtual feature-oriented scanning method. It is discovered by morphology and Fourier spectra that the nanostructured surface of the PMMA film is partially ordered. The developed VUV smoothing procedure can be used to treat the electron-beam, UV, and X-ray sensitive PMMA resists, PMMA elements of microelectromechanical systems, biomedical PMMA implants, as well as to certify nanotechnological equipment incorporating UV radiation sources.