Micro and Nano Fabrication
Clean Room

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Processes - Nanolithography - Nscriptor® DPNWriter® Dip Pen Nanolithography System

For training on this equipment, contact the assigned module leads

Nscriptor® DPNWriter® Dip Pen Nanolithography System


Nanoink Inc. (Manufacturer's Website)


Nano Ink Dip Pen

Nanoink Probe Tip


Dip Pen Lithography Presentation

General Information

Dip Pen Nanolithography is a patented process of writing nanoscale patterns of molecular "ink" onto a sample substrate, via a coated SPM tip.  The Nanoink DPNWriter System is a fully integrated hardware and software system that is optimized for the Dip Pen process.


  • Microfabrication
  • Nanotechnology
    • Multi-component Nanofabrication
    • Silicon-etch Nanostructures
    • Directed assembly of Nanotubes
    • Templated Nanoparticle Assembly
  • Biotechnology
    • Protein Nanoarrays
    • Ultra-High Density DNA arrays
    • Large-Area Biological Patterning
    • Biosensor Prototyping
  • Molecular Electronics
    • Functionalized Nanowires

  • Customized CAD tool capability uniquely made for DPN pattern design.
    • Design elements are organized into a layered hierarchy, as with IC-design CAD packages
    • Elements and groups of elements can be made into arrays
    • Polygon objects are made with an optimized space-filling tool using the writing of parallel lines
    • Connected-line patterns, called "paths," are made by a unique corner-shared drawing tool
    • Elements can be drawn with a snap-to-grid efficiency tool
    • Design elements are portrayed with a Tree View display for efficient pattern design organization
  • GDS II file import of CAD files into the InkCAD® design software.
    • Files can be designed with third-party CAD software and then be imported into InkCAD, as long as files are in the GDS II format
    • Files are reconstructed into the layering scheme, with all CAD design elements converted into pattern elements that can be printed by DPN pens
  • Calibration routine for inks.
    • Provides separate diffusion coefficients between dots or lines
    • Dot and line diffusion coefficients are transferable into design layers as a storable property
  • Novel nanoscale ink alignment routine.
    • Permits alignment of one ink layer relative to the next using the stage navigation environment, not the design window (using layer shifts).
    • Cleaner approach to layer to layer alignment, and it also extends to multi-probe array tip-to-tip alignment
  • Software that models the deposition of patterns from arrays of multiple DPN pens
    • No other commerical package available that considers multiple pen sources of ink for nanolithography
    • InkCAD has a preview window and a probe array menu, which can create a multi-pattern design out of a single-pen design, along with considering unique pen array shapes
    • Unique nanoscale alignment routines that will store data on relative tip-to-tip separations, which is required for layer-to-layer alignment of different inks
  • Control capability for Active Pen arrays
    • Customer driver cards and flex circuitry used to drive the Active Pen systems
    • Thermally actuated arrays of DPN pens
  • Custom Active Pen hardware, with each pen addressed to a design layer
  • 3 motor leveling system for Z-approach of probe into feedback
    • Specialized software routine makes automatic, geometrically compensated, leveling operations for the probe arrays, avoiding careless probe crashes
    • 3-motor leveling and software leveling insures that all probe arrays touch down at the same time
  • Scanning tip SPM design with closed loop linearization
    • Provides capability of allowing small sample sizes, that rest on an automated stage for controlled x-y navigation
    • Critical for proper nanolithography performance and imaging
  • Imaging and DPN patterning capability with both contact and AC modes
  • Automated ink-dipping routines for multi-pen arrays
    • Memory controlled, automated motion between the sample substrate and the inkwells
    • Specialized quasi-feedback routine is developed for dipping probes into the inkwells
  • PC-driven environmental control of both temperature and humidity
    • Environmental chamber controls the process environment for DPN experimentation
    • The environmental chamber houses the entire DPN stage
    • Both temperature and humidity are controlled by PID feedback loops

Equipment Configuration and Technical Data:

  • Solid Granite Stage
  • Video Microscope
    • Motorized Zoom/Focus
    • 10X Objective Lens
  • DPN Scanner
    • 90 micron X-Y piezo scan range
    • 8 micron Z piezo scan range
    • Light lever sensing system
    • Closed-loop X-Y-Z Scanning Sensors
  • Three Motor Z-Plane
  • Motorized X-Y Sample Translation, 1" range
  • Layered Sample Puck for samples < 2" tall
  • Probe Exchange, cassette-style assembly
  • Control Module for DPN Hardware
  • Environmental Chamber
  • Air Table for Vibration Isolation of DPN Stage
  • Control and Analysis Station
    • PC with Pentium IV Processor
    • Advanced Video and Graphics System
  • Dual LCD Flat Panel Monitors
  • InkCAD® Software
    • Lattice® for building periodic spotted arrays
    • Nanoword® for building text-based patterns
    • Dots and Lines®, array-based pattern generation of dot and line sub-sets
    • InkCal®, auto-calibration of ink diffusion for controlled pattern feature sizes
    • InkFinder®, optical micro-scale and SPM-based nano-scale alignment of consecutive ink pens
    • InkMap® for importing bitmap files into InkCAD
  • Instrument Control
    • Full stage navigation
    • AFM imaging capability
      • Contact Mode Topography and LFM
      • AC mode (non-contact) and phase imaging
      • Real-time linescan profile
  • Installed Options
    • Bias Control for enabling tip-sample bias

Training & Usage

Please contact the module lead to schedule a training session. After attending the training session, you are expected to return within one week with your own sample to test in the presence of the module lead. You may NOT use the equipment unsupervised until you have successfully passed the test.

Procedures & Documentation

 (Under Construction)