The invention is a new imprint method capable of sub 100 nm lithography in arbitrary geometries. The method uses simple small template units applied in succession to create complex designs which are usually less efficiently obtained using larger templates. Its advantages are akin to the advantages of constructing a large building from small stone building blocks instead of attempting to carve the building structure from a single large stone. By using small templates, this development removes the difficulty and slowness of manufacturing complex custom templates, and promotes flexibility in design.
The imprint layer on the top of the substrate consists of a flexible polymer above its glass transition temperature but below its melting temperature. A template with a very simple pattern is then pushed down into the polymer causing it to deform. After lifting the template a trench remains, generating an I shaped pattern in the polymer layer. Before the polymer relaxes to its previous configuration, the substrate is realigned and translated, and a second imprint is formed. More complicated patterns can be generated using templates of various shapes