Diamond Microfabrication for Applications in Optics and Chemical Sensing
Abstract: Diamond is a material with many exceptional properties. In this thesis methods for fabrication of microstructures as well as several applications of such structures in optics, microfluidics and electrochemistry are presented.A method for etching deep and highly precise gratings is described. This method was used to fabricate circularly symmetric half wave plates for use in vector vortex coronagraphs. Such coronagraphs are a very promising approach to the direct imaging of extrasolar planets.By varying the lateral etch rate of the aluminum mask during diamond etching in an inductively coupled plasma, the sidewall angle of the etched structures could be controlled. This method was used to make smooth sloped sides on a waveguide for coupling light into it. Antireflective structures that drastically reduced the surface reflection in a wavelength band between 10 and 50 µm were also fabricated.An array of boron doped diamond microelectrodes for electrochemical measurements in a microchannel was fabricated and tested, showing very good stability and reusability. Several hundred hours of use did not adversely affect their performance and no damage to them could be detected by atomic force microscopy or scanning electron microscopy.Superhydrophobic surfaces in diamond were demonstrated, using both hydrogen and fluorine termination. Hydrogen termination on a flat surface gives contact angles below 90°. To achieve a superhydrophobic surface with this low intrinsic hydrophobicity, structures looking like microscopic nail heads were fabricated. The effect of water pressure on immersed superhydrophobic surfaces was also studied and it was found that the collapse of the superhydrophobic state due to pressure was sometimes reversible as the pressure was lowered.Finally, a method was tested for functionalizing diamond surfaces using block copolymers of polyethylene oxide and polypropylene oxide to both passivate the surface and to attach synthetic binder molecules. This method was found to give very high signal to noise ratios when detecting C-reactive protein.
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