Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lithography: High-resolution images get richer in contrast

11.12.2012
A method that boosts the contrast of high-resolution optical images has the potential to enable lithography at the nanoscale

When looking to produce the tiny semiconductor components used in electronic devices, photolithography is the process of choice. It not only provides high-resolution images, but also allows high-throughput production.


A scanning-electron micrograph of a test sample used to demonstrate a superlens's resolving power of better than 50 nanometers.



Copyright : 2012 A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering When looking to produce the tiny sem

However, as miniaturization of electronic circuits advances unceasingly, traditional photolithography hits both fundamental and cost limits. Now, a new photolithographic technique that will produce features smaller than those possible today is on the horizon.

This development is thanks to an international research team led by Jing Hua Teng and Hong Liu from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, Singapore, which included co-workers from the A*STAR Data Storage Institute, Singapore.

In traditional photolithography, light is used to write, for example, the layout of an electronic circuit onto a substrate coated with a light-sensitive material. The assembly is then chemically processed in a way that makes the desired pattern appear on the final component. The minimum size of the features that can be produced with this method is given by the optical diffraction limit: the resolution that can be obtained in optical images cannot be higher than about half of the wavelength of the light used.
This limit is typically on the order of several hundreds of nanometers. And, with a view to further miniaturization of electronic components, it constitutes a genuine roadblock, explains Teng.

Physicists have proposed several methods to beat the diffraction limit, including the use of so-called superlenses. The resolution of superlens images exceeds the diffraction limit; however, these images tend to suffer from poor contrast, and this has limited their usefulness for lithography.

Teng and his co-workers demonstrated that they could produce superlens images with a resolution below 50 nanometers and a contrast sufficient for photolithographic purposes. The trick was to carefully control the surface of the lens, which consists of a thin silver film. “A smooth surface ensures that very little light is lost due to scattering,” explains Teng. Through careful optimization of the fabrication process, he and his team succeeded in producing silver superlenses with imperfections that were less than 2 nanometers in height.

The team’s next goal is to optimize the lithography process and the materials involved to meet the high-throughput requirements for industry-scale applications. The result should be a versatile tool for optical lithography in the nano-regime. “Superlens lithography is a promising technology for next-generation optical nanolithography for the semiconductor industry, but also for bioengineering and data storage,” says Liu.

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering and the Data Storage Institute

Journal information

Liu, H., Wang, B., Ke, L., Deng, J., Choy, C. C. et al. High contrast superlens lithography engineered by loss reduction. Advanced Functional Materials 22, 3777–3783 (2012).

A*STAR Research | Research asia research news
Further information:
http://www.a-star.edu.sg
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Serendipity uncovers borophene's potential
23.02.2017 | Northwestern University

nachricht Switched-on DNA
20.02.2017 | Arizona State University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>