Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is a micro/nanoscale patterning technology on thermoplastic polymer films, and has been widely used to fabricate functional micro/nanoscale patterns. NIL was also used to develop micro/nanoscale patterns on curved surfaces by employing flexible polymer stamps or micropatterned metal molds with macroscopic curvatures. In this study, two-step ultrasonic forming was used to develop micropatterns on a curved surface out of a flat metal stamp, by connecting ultrasonic imprinting and stretching processes. Ultrasonic imprinting was used to replicate functional micropatterns on a flat polymer film, using a flat ultrasonic horn and micropatterned metal stamps with prism and dot micropatterns. An ultrasonic stretching process was then used to form a curvature on the patterned film using a curved ultrasonic horn and a soft mold insert, to avoid damage to the pre-developed micropatterns. The ultrasonic horn was designed to have three different tip radii, and the resulting forming depth and curvature formation were investigated experimentally. As a result, three different curved surfaces containing two different micropatterns were obtained. The developed curved films containing micropatterns were then evaluated optically, and showed different optical diffusion and illumination characteristics according to the film curvature and micropattern type. These results indicate that the proposed technology can extend the functionality of conventional micropatterned products by imposing appropriate curvatures.
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