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SUSS' new tool replaces traditional optical lithography

Posted: 12 Apr 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:suss microtec? lithography tool? optical lithography? lithography? nano-scale?

SUSS MicroTec announced last week a next-generation lithography tool that will replace traditional optical lithography for the production of nano-scale devices.

The SUSS NPS300 NanoPatterning Stepper was developed within the Sixth Framework Program in cooperation with the VTT Microelectronics Center during a one-year project. In March 2004, a four-year European Commission NaPa project was initiated to develop nano-patterning methods aimed at integrating top-down miniaturization and bottom-up self-assembly fabrication approaches. The key outcome from NaPa will be the standardization of processes for nano-patterning to address future demands made by integrated circuits, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical applications, explained the press release from SUSS.

In the framework of this research program, SUSS teamed up with several core partners (VTT, NMRC-NIL, NMRC-CMG, mrt, EPFL, IBM, LAAS) for the development of cutting edge complementary technologies in order to overcome all imprinting challenges, including materials, stamps, tools and simulation.

The new NPS300 has a very flexible configuration. It is available either as a manually loaded machine or as a fully automated system with wafer loading capability. With the latter configuration, the tool includes fully automated wafer handling for sizes up to 300mm and an automated template pick up capability, allowing different templates to be printed on same wafer.

Designed for the cost-effective replication of micro or nanometer scale devices, the NPS300 successfully achieves a sub-20nm imprinting resolution for cold (UV-NIL) and hot embossing applications.

When equipped with the automatic alignment option, the NPS300 demonstrates a 250nm overlay accuracy and accepts stamps with sizes up to 100mm and with thickness' up to 6.5mm. The NPS300 imprinting arm can be equipped with either a cold or a hot embossing head, and the imprinting force ranges from 5N to 4kN. The active area of the stamp can be up to 40-by-40mm for UV-NIL, and 100-by-100mm for hot embossing.

The optical system is a superimposing microscope with high magnification, which mixes the images of the stamp with that of the wafer before they reach the numeric video camera. The short working distance allows high numerical aperture, which gives an unsurpassed resolution.

"The NPS300 offers various imprinting techniques," commented Gilbert Lecarpentier, SUSS' Strategic Product Manager for the NPS300. "Step & Stamp Imprinting for Hot Embossing is an innovative method that has been demonstrated by VTT Microelectronic Center in Finland with a FC150 Device Bonder. This imprint lithography method consists of transferring the pattern of the stamp into a thermoplastic embossing material by controlling heat and pressure."

"Ideal for performing all process steps required for different imprint lithography technologies, this new tool is a cost-effective alternative to high-resolution e-beam lithography for printing sub-20nm geometries," Lecarpentier added.

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