Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Develop Detailed Design Rules For Nanoimprint Lithography Processing

Date:
April 26, 2006
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Summary:
Using a combination of experimental data and simulations, researchers have identified key parameters that predict the outcome of nanoimprint lithography, a fabrication technique that offers an alternative to traditional lithography in patterning integrated circuits and other small-scale structures into polymers.

Graduate student Andrew Cannon shows a plastic sheet containing micro-mechanical features. (Georgia Tech Photo: Gary Meek)

Using a combination of experimental data and simulations, researchers have identified key parameters that predict the outcome of nanoimprint lithography, a fabrication technique that offers an alternative to traditional lithography in patterning integrated circuits and other small-scale structures into polymers.

Results of the three-year study, conducted by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Sandia National Laboratories, provide a “road map” to guide development of next-generation micron- and nanometer-scale high-resolution imprint manufacturing. By reducing cost and time, the design rules could help make high-volume production of nanotechnology-based products more economically feasible.

“This work provides a rational link between what engineers want to make using nanoimprint lithography and the path for creating them,” said William King, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Mechanical Engineering. “We have developed manufacturing design rules that will give future users of this technology a predictive tool kit so they’ll know what to expect over a broad range of parameters.”

The research results have been published in the Journal of Vacuum Science Technology B and the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. The research was supported by awards for King through the National Science Foundation’s CAREER program and the PECASE award program of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Nanoimprint lithography is the ultra-miniaturized version of the decades-old embossing process in which a master tool – or a mold – is pressed into a soft material to create detailed patterns. Using a broad range of polymer materials, nanoimprint lithography produces structures on the micron or nanometer size scales, offering the potential for lowering production costs.

However, quality issues caused by unpredictable polymer flow into the non-uniform features of embossing tools pose a major stumbling block. Earlier research into this complex process has produced often conflicting recommendations, forcing manufacturers to pursue costly trial and error.

Using the results of experimental work and a simulation program adapted in collaboration with researchers at Sandia National Laboratories, King’s research team examined every variable involved in the nanoimprinting process, recording the outcome of each incremental change through the design space. They studied such variables as shear deformation of the polymer, elastic stress release, capillary flow and viscous flow during the filling of imprinting tool cavities that had varying sizes and shapes.

“This helped us to resolve the phenomenological events that occur during the manufacturing process and to link them to the observed experimental outcomes,” King explained. “Because we have blanketed the entire design space, we have a firm understanding on the linkage between process parameters and outcomes.”

At the micron- and nanometer-size scales studied by the researchers, the fundamental laws of physics remain the same as at larger scales, but manifest themselves in different ways.

“At the small scale with embossing and nano-imprinting, different issues are important,” King said. “For instance, we can have gradients in surface tension that are very important to how polymer nanostructures are formed. We can also have high pressure gradients inside our embossing tools that are almost ridiculously high compared to what you would expect at the macro scale.”

The research examined, for example, how large differences in cavity sizes on the imprinting tool lead to non-uniform filling and non-local polymer flow. It also provided recommendations on how to minimize such issues.

The research ultimately pointed to specific parameters that determine the outcome of the process. These include key geometric parameters that predict the polymer deformation mechanism. The research also developed a new non-dimensional measure, the “Nanoimprint Capillary Number,” which predicts the flow driving mechanism that ultimately governs all of the polymer flow details.

By reducing the complex set of variables to key parameters, King – along with Georgia Tech graduate student Harry D. Rowland and collaborators Amy C. Sun and P. Randall Schunk of Sandia National Laboratories – have been able to account for the varying process outcomes reported by other researchers in dozens of papers, King said.

The results apply to any polymeric material that follows standard viscous flow rules and produces feature sizes larger than 50 nanometers. The next step in the research would be to modify the simulation software to account for physics changes that occur on smaller size scales.

The results could have applications in semiconductor manufacturing, where nanoimprinting offers a potential alternative to increasingly expensive lithography processes to produce circuitry. It could also help make high-volume production of nanoscale structures for optoelectronic, biomedical and other applications more economically feasible.

“Nanoscale products are too expensive to manufacture, and they will continue to be too expensive until something fundamentally changes in the process,” King added. “Nanotechnology will not be successful until you can go into a grocery store or discount store and routinely purchase products based on nanotechnology. That’s what we want to accomplish.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology Research News. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology Research News. "Researchers Develop Detailed Design Rules For Nanoimprint Lithography Processing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060425183032.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News. (2006, April 26). Researchers Develop Detailed Design Rules For Nanoimprint Lithography Processing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060425183032.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News. "Researchers Develop Detailed Design Rules For Nanoimprint Lithography Processing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060425183032.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Boeing Ups Outlook on 52% Profit Jump

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 23, 2014) Commercial aircraft deliveries rose seven percent at Boeing, prompting the aerospace company to boost full-year profit guidance- though quarterly revenues missed analyst estimates. Bobbi Rebell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins