VTT and SUSS MicroTec S.A.S. have developed the most versatile nano imprinting stepper on the market. The stepper and new methods form enabling technology for fast, low-cost production of flexible solar cells and nano-scale bio analysis platforms (Lab on a Chip). The stepper was developed within the framework of the Emerging Nanopatterning Methods project. VTT is already using a prototype of the NPS300 stepper at its laboratory in Micronova in Espoo Finland.
Based on Step and Stamp Imprint Lithography (SSIL), the stepper uses a patterned chip as a stamp; the stamp pattern is transferred to a polymer layer by imprinting. Large-scale replication of patterns is done by means of Step and Stamp imprinting. The stepper enables multi-layer imprinting with high-accuracy alignment. Both thermoplastic and UV cured material may be used. The patterned polymer layer can be used as an engraving mask when printing patterns on silicon or quartz. The method enables quick, low-cost replication of sub-100 nm geometries on a large area.
Traditionally, nano-scale geometries have been printed using e-beam lithography. This method has one weakness: it is slow. While other microelectronics equipment and methods may be used to produce sub-100 nm line widths, such equipment is extremely highly priced. Furthermore, traditional methods are not easily adaptable for printing on new functional materials or using 3D geometries.
E-beam lithography will continue to be used for the tiniest stamp patters also in the future. However, Step and Stamp patterning can be used for large area processes. It can also be applied to produce stamps for roll-to-roll nanopatterning.
Suitable for new materials and 3D geometries
The new stepper is suitable for nanopatterning of optical and electronic materials and biomaterials as well as 3-dimensional replication. VTT has even been able to produce sub-10 nm geometries. Thanks to its high-accuracy alignment, nanopatterning can be performed on the same platform with other patterning methods. The method is cost-efficient and fast, which makes it ideal for mass-scale production.
Nanopatterning is an enabling technology, with applications such as biotechnology, photonics, nano- and polymer electronics, hard drives, sensors, etc. Micronova's cleanroom equipment and process can cover the entire process chain from stamp manufacture to characterisation.
Emerging Nanopatterning Methods - VTT's biggest EU project
Coordinated by VTT, the Emerging Nanopatterning Methods (NaPa) project reinforces nanotechnology research in Europe. Launched in 2004 with a budget of EUR 31 million, the project is the largest EU project coordinated by VTT, as well as one of the EU's largest nanotechnology projects. The project aims at standardising the nano- imprinting processes and establishing a process library. In order to promote the feasibility of solutions developed the within the project, special focus is paid to cost-efficiency. The environmental friendliness of the process is another key aspect. One of the most significant project outcomes is the NPS300 nano imprinting stepper.
The project has also been concerned with developing roll-to-roll methods for the production of nano-geometries. A printer designed by VTT combines the new nanopatterning method with gravure printing and flexo techniques in one process run. This printer is already used by VTT as well.
New biomaterial could replace plastic laminates, greatly reduce pollution
21.09.2017 | Penn State
Stopping problem ice -- by cracking it
21.09.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Controlling electronic current is essential to modern electronics, as data and signals are transferred by streams of electrons which are controlled at high speed. Demands on transmission speeds are also increasing as technology develops. Scientists from the Chair of Laser Physics and the Chair of Applied Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have succeeded in switching on a current with a desired direction in graphene using a single laser pulse within a femtosecond ¬¬ – a femtosecond corresponds to the millionth part of a billionth of a second. This is more than a thousand times faster compared to the most efficient transistors today.
Graphene is up to the job
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
26.09.2017 | Life Sciences
26.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.09.2017 | Information Technology