- Nanometer patterning
The increase in national focus on nanotechnology has prompted the need for improved patterning techniques at the nanometer scale. However, standard lithography techniques are often uneconomically expensive and are limited by a 10nm patterning resolution. What is needed today is a low cost technology which can be flexibly applied and is broadly available.
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
- Eliminates the difficult, slow, and costly step of custom template manufacturing
- Improves upon electron beam lithography by eliminating the proximity effect which usually affect accuracy of template construction
- Device is not exposed to electron beams or other damaging radiation
- Improves upon nanoimprint lithography by enabling the imprinting of arbitrary features without a custom template