France, April 4th 2005, SUSS MicroTec today announces
a next-generation lithography tool which 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.
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, simulation, etc.
The newly designed
machine has a very flexible configuration. The NPS300
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 300 mm and
an automated template pick up capability, allowing
different templates to be printed on same wafer.
Optimized for the
cost-effective replication of micro or nanometer scale
devices, the SUSS NPS300 successfully achieves a sub-20
nm imprinting resolution for cold (UV-NIL) and hot
When equipped with
the automatic alignment option, the NPS300 demonstrates
a 250 nm overlay accuracy and accepts stamps with
sizes up to 100 mm and with thickness' up to 6.5 mm.
The NPS300 imprinting arm can be equipped with either
a cold or a hot embossing head. The imprinting force
ranges from 5N to 4kN. The active area of the stamp
can be up to 40 x 40 mm for UV-NIL and 100 x 100 mm
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", explains 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 Centre 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-20 nm geometries.
Using in-situ material dispense and UV curing, the
Step & Cure Imprinting method is also achieved
with the NPS for Cold Embossing applications."
This innovative technology is a very promising solution
for replacing standard UV-lithography systems.
By using stamps or
templates rather than optical lithography for the
imprinting, the NPS300 can replicate the tiniest patterns.
Applications include integrated optical devices (passive
devices on diodes, gratings, photo refractive polymers,
back side illumination devices, etc.), smart materials
for microelectronics (sensors, resonators and transducers),
sensors for temperature, light, molecules, life science
as well as 3-dimensional replication.
Along with this Nano
Patterning Stepper, SUSS additionally offers Mask
Aligners for Cold Embossing at wafer level, a technique
where an imprint resist is cured with UV light, and
Substrate Bonders for Hot Embossing using temperature
and pressure as curing parameters.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is a contract
research organisation involved in many European research
programs and other international assignments. With
its 2800 employees, VTT provides technology and applied
research services for its customers, private companies,
institutions and the public sector. VTT also promotes
technology transfer by creating public research knowledge
and by actively participating in both domestic and
international research in electronics, information
technology, biotechnology, nanotechnology among others.
Turnover is about
210 million euros. VTT serves annually over 5000 domestic
and foreign customers.