Nanoimprint lithography continues to advance

May 12, 2004
Nanoimpint
An nanoimprint mold made by Prof. Stephen Chou group at Princeton University

Nanoimprint is an emerging lithographic technology that promises high-throughput patterning of nanostructures. Based on the mechanical embossing principle, nanoimprint technique can achieve pattern resolutions beyond the limitations set by the light diffractions or beam scatterings in other conventional techniques. The article in the last issue of Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics by L. Jay Guo from The University of Michigan, reviews the basic principles of nanoimprint technology and some of the recent progress in this field.

Imprint lithography uses polymers that harden into patterns when exposed to ultraviolet light through a 1:1 proximity mask. The patterns on the template are written with an electron-beam system at the same line width as the pattern on the wafer, rather than at the 4x reduction possible with conventional optical lithography. Previously used only in making simple non-electronic structures such as optical gratings, the technique can make electronics by nanoimprinting multiple transistors with features two-thirds the size of those found on even the most advanced commercial chips. Even Intel is reportedly investigating the technology.

Nanoimprinting technique has enabled a parallel nanoscale processing capability with simple equipment. The simplicity of this method has made it appealing to researchers in various fields. Imprint lithography is relatively inexpensive because it avoids costly optics, as well as cumbersome enhancement techniques like phase-shift masks. The machines cost far less than today's step-and-scan systems.

Nano-imprint lithography is currently slated for the 32-nm node on the ITRS roadmap. The 32-nm node is expected to emerge in the 2009 time frame. Although no semiconductor firms make their commercial electronics using nanoimprinting, several have nanoimprinting tools in their research laboratories, and a number of firms sell the tools, including Molecular Imprints, EV Group, Obducat, and Nanonex.

If the defect density can be made low enough for volume production of large ICs and the current rate of progress on nanoimprint technology is maintained, this technique might even be able to challenge EUV.

Explore further: New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New NIST microscope sees what others can't

May 07, 2014

Microscopes don't exactly lie, but their limitations affect the truths they can tell. For example, scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) simply can't see materials that don't conduct electricity very well, ...

Recommended for you

New filter could advance terahertz data transmission

Feb 27, 2015

University of Utah engineers have discovered a new approach for designing filters capable of separating different frequencies in the terahertz spectrum, the next generation of communications bandwidth that ...

The super-resolution revolution

Feb 27, 2015

Cambridge scientists are part of a resolution revolution. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, they are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, ...

Precision gas sensor could fit on a chip

Feb 27, 2015

Using their expertise in silicon optics, Cornell engineers have miniaturized a light source in the elusive mid-infrared (mid-IR) spectrum, effectively squeezing the capabilities of a large, tabletop laser onto a 1-millimeter ...

A new X-ray microscope for nanoscale imaging

Feb 27, 2015

Delivering the capability to image nanostructures and chemical reactions down to nanometer resolution requires a new class of x-ray microscope that can perform precision microscopy experiments using ultra-bright ...

New research signals big future for quantum radar

Feb 26, 2015

A prototype quantum radar that has the potential to detect objects which are invisible to conventional systems has been developed by an international research team led by a quantum information scientist at the University ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.