EV Group Introduces Roll-To-Roll Nanoimprint Lithography System For Biomedical, Optical And Flexible Electronics Applications

Electronics-research-001(Nanowerk News) EV Group (EVG), a leading supplier of  wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology and  semiconductor markets, today introduced the EVG®570R2R—the industry’s first  roll-to-roll thermal nanoimprint lithography (NIL) tool.



Jointly developed with  the Industrial Consortium on Nanoimprint (ICON), helmed by A*A*STAR‘s Institute of  Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), the EVG570R2R utilizes hot embossing  to mass-produce films and surfaces with micro- and nanometer-scale structures  for a variety of medical, consumer and industrial applications, including  micro-fluidics, plastic electronics and photovoltaics.  The first system has  been installed in IMRE’s Singapore facility, where it will be used by IMRE to  conduct industrial research on the potential uses for large-scale nanoimprint  patterning, as well as by EV Group for product demonstrations with prospective  customers.

roll-to-roll thermal nanoimprint lithography tool
EV  Group unveils the industry’s first roll-to-roll thermal nanoimprint lithography  tool, the EVG®570R2R, which mass-produces films and surfaces with micro- and  nanometer-scale structures for a variety of medical, consumer and industrial  applications, including micro-fluidics, plastic electronics and photovoltaics.
Roll-to-roll nanoimprint technology is an attractive approach to  manufacturing micro- and nano-scale patterns due to its low cost, continuous  high throughput and large-area patterning capabilities.  Hot embossing, which is  one method of implementing roll-to-roll patterning, is particularly well suited  for devices used in biological and medical applications due to its low cost,  high throughput, material flexibility and monolithic approach.  By partnering  with IMRE, EVG has been able to leverage IMRE’s core competencies in materials  science with its own expertise in temperature embossing and pressure uniformity  to develop the EVG570R2R, whose innovative imprint module design provides  excellent temperature and pressure uniformity for micro- and nanoscale  patterning on a broad range of materials.
“While roll-to-roll nanoimprint lithography holds much promise  in enabling a variety of new applications, previous efforts to develop the  technology lacked a holistic approach,” stated Professor Andy Hor Tzi Sum,  executive director of IMRE.  “As part of this new ICON project, IMRE is bringing  together technology innovators from across the ecosystem to help drive this  technology toward commercialization.  Companies like EV Group have been  instrumental in building the foundational tools and solutions needed to make  roll-to-roll nanoimprint a viable manufacturing process.”
The EVG570R2R is the latest addition to EV Group’s extensive  suite of nanoimprint products, which also include the EVG®770 automated NIL  stepper, the EVG®750 automated hot embossing system, the IQ  Aligner® automated  UV-NIL and u-CP systems, the EVG®510HE and EVG®520HE semi-automated hot  embossing systems, and the EVG®620 and EVG®6200 automated UV-NIL systems.
Paul Lindner, EV Group’s executive technology director,  commented, “With the EVG570R2R, EV Group now offers the largest imprint product  portfolio to support a wide variety of applications, including medical,  point-of-care diagnostics, flexible electronics, displays, solar, architectural  glass and other structured films, biotechnology, security and optics.  We are  very proud of this particular development and working with IMRE and the ICON  organization.  EVG is once again laser focused on turning its R&D efforts  into world-class production-ready solutions, and we look forward to seeing the  results.”
About EV Group
EV Group (EVG) is a leading supplier of equipment and process  solutions for the manufacture of semiconductors, microelectromechanical systems  (MEMS), compound semiconductors, power devices and nanotechnology devices.  Key  products include wafer bonding, thin-wafer processing, lithography/nanoimprint  lithography (NIL) and metrology equipment, as well as photoresist coaters,  cleaners and inspection systems.  Founded in 1980, EV Group services and  supports an elaborate network of global customers and partners all over the  world.  More information about EVG is available at http://www.EVGroup.com.
Source: EV Group (press release)

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Will it be possible someday to build a ‘Fab-on-a-Chip’?


QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8(Nanowerk Spotlight) Semiconductor fabs are large,  complex industrial sites with costs for a single facility approaching $10B. In  this article we discuss the possibility of putting the entire functionality of  such a fab onto a single silicon chip.


We demonstrate a path forward where, for  certain applications, especially at the nanometer scale, one might consider  using a single chip approach for building devices, both integrated circuits and  nano-electromechanical systems.  Such methods could mean shorter device  development and fabrication times with a significant potential for cost savings.  In our approach, we build micro versions of the macro machines one typically  finds in a fab, allowing for the functionality to be placed on a single silicon  substrate.  We argue that the technology will soon exist to allow one to build a  “Fab on a Chip”.

Moore’s Law is a well-known concept.  According to the  observation first made by Gordon E. Moore, Intel’s then CEO, the number of  transistors on an IC doubles roughly every two years1.  Less well known is Rock’s Law, sometimes called  Moore’s Second Law, which says that semiconductor fabrication facilities, or  fabs, double in cost roughly every four years2.

Current typical costs for a state-of-the-art fab range from $3-4B and can even  reach up to ~$9.3B for TSMC’s recent 300mm fab in Taiwan3.  Eventually Rock’s Law must run into Herbert Steins’ observation that  “If  something cannot go on forever, it will stop”.  What can or will happen to  semiconductor fabs before their costs exceed the GDP of the planet?    A standard answer among nanotechnology researchers is that  chemically or biologically inspired “bottom-up” approaches will be developed  that will allow us to grow very-large-scale integration (VLSI) circuits in the  same way we currently grow carbon nanotubes4,  tomatoes or chickens.

Here, the question we pose is whether another approach to  solving this problem is feasible.  Would it be possible to place the entire  functionality of a semiconductor fab on a single silicon chip?  In the same way  as we can contemplate building a “Lab on a Chip”, can we build a “Fab on a Chip”  (FoC)?

For the impatient among you, we will argue here that the answer is  likely to be a qualified “yes”.   As semiconductor technologies continue to shrink from the deep  sub-micron regime into the nanometer regime, standard techniques to manufacture  the devices are becoming more and more challenging. The conventional methods  using photo resist, liftoff and optical/deep-UV/E-beam lithography5,  6 have created the need for multi-billion dollar fabs, but they have no  hope of ultimately scaling into the regime of single or few atom devices.

However, it is clear that progress in device physics is advancing such that in  the not too distant future, we will need and desire single atom devices7 despite the fact that we have no clear idea of how  such circuits could be made using a manufacturable process.

           Scanning electron micrographs of MEMS device

Scanning electron micrographs of MEMS devices that may be  included in a FoC. Clockwise from the top: Linear Actuators and springs provide  nanoscale position control, thermometers and heaters control the surface temperature. A MEMS  controlled near-field scanning optical microscope can image in situ deposited  structures.  Thermal sources provide an atom flux that is detected by mass sensors for  controlled deposition rates. Masks and dynamic shutters guide the atom flux with  both high special and temporal accuracy‡. (Figures are compiled from the work of  J. Chang, B. Corman, K. Frink, H. Han, M. Imboden, and references [11,21]).  (click image to enlarge)  

Our suggested approach is to build MEMS micro versions of the  various systems one finds in a semiconductor fab.  These various elements can  then be placed on a silicon die allowing one to build devices with nano-scale  features.  What does a fab actually do?  At the meta level it takes silicon  wafers and grows arrays of transistors upon them with the appropriate electrical  interconnects.  Could a “Fab on a Chip” do this?  Yes, it could.  Is a “Fab on a  Chip” ever going to build a 10 cm2 square  silicon VLSI die with 1010 CMOS transistors on  it?

Probably not, but one could imagine using a “Fab on a Chip” to build a  square mm device with 108 nano-scale single  electron transistors on it with the appropriate interconnects.  If this later  type of device is of interest to you, a “Fab on a Chip” might be just the thing.

Where between these two limits the FoC technology will run out of gas is  currently an open but interesting question.   A key feature to FoC technology is that one will not use  photoresist and liftoff techniques.  This is an enormous simplification in terms  of reducing the complexity of the traditional fab.  For a FoC, the deposition  step uses a direct write approach8-12.

There  are a number of possible methods.  One such a device is shown in the figure.  It  is a MEMS plate with an integrated shutter allowing for the direct writing of  atoms, analogous to a micro 3-D printer11, 13.   This (or something like it) would be the lithography tool with nanoscale  displacement resolution.  In addition to the lithography tool, one needs sources  of atoms (thermally sourced from micro-heaters14 or ions from micro-spray emitters15),  film thickness monitors based on mechanical oscillators for controlled  deposition16-18, resistive heaters9,19,  thermometers20, shutters/masks, imaging  tools21 and electrical interconnects  that all  work together to monitor and control the fabrication environment and possibly  even including an integrated power source22.

Examples of such MEMS elements are also shown in the figure.  All the devices  can be placed onto a single silicon die and together, could be used to create a  nano-scale system of devices.  The devices shown in the figure were built using  a commercial foundry and can be easily arrayed on a single silicon die23, resulting in a so-called “system of systems”  approach.

Many questions abound such as: Would such chips be cost effective?   High yield? Reliable?  Low Waste? Are we insane to suggest this?  At the moment  the answer these and many other similar questions is “maybe”.

In a very real sense, what we are suggesting is using  macro-machines to build micro-machines and then using these micro-machines to  build nanostructure elements of electrical circuits and nano-electromechanical  systems.  The concept of producing micron-scale MEMS devices (which cost roughly a dollar per square mm to  produce, and perhaps even a factor of ten less in large volumes) and then using  nanometer tunability to create nano-scale devices opens up a new and perhaps  much less expensive avenue towards manufacturing large arrays of nano-scale  devices. 

We  believe it is fair to call this approach a “Fab on a Chip” because in addition  to the lithography piece, one can integrate onto the silicon chip many of the other functions a semiconductor fab  performs and at the end of the day, these chips would produce what fabs produce:  a silicon die with arrays of devices on them.

Will such an approach be a “holy grail” that solves all the  problems associated with producing nano-scale VLSI circuits?  Probably not.   Will it allow us to produce certain types of nano-scale circuits in a cost  effective way?  We believe so.  Is it an interesting and potentially important  avenue to research?  Absolutely.  

Notes 1. Moore, G. The Future of Integrated Electronics. Fairchild  Semiconductor internal publication (1964).   2. Rupp, K. & Selberherr, S. The  economic limit to Moore’s law. Semiconductor Manufacturing, IEEE  Transactions on 24, 1-4 (2011).   3. TSMC Begins Construction on Gigafab™ In Central  Taiwan 4. Li, X., Cao, A., Jung, Y. J., Vajtai, R. & Ajayan, P. M.  Bottom-up growth of carbon nanotube multilayers:  unprecedented growth. Nano Letters 5, 1997-2000 (2005).   5. Ito, T. & Okazaki, S. Pushing the limits of lithography. Nature 406,  1027-1031 (2000).   6. Grigorescu, A. & Hagen, C. Resists  for sub-20-nm electron beam lithography with a focus on HSQ: state of the  art. Nanotechnology 20, 292001 (2009).   7. Rossier, J. F. Single-atom devices: Quantum engineeringNature Materials 12, 480-481 (2013).   8. Lee, W., et al. Direct-write polymer nanolithography in ultra-high  vacuum. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology 3, 52-56 (2012).   9. Savu, V., Xie, S. & Brugger, J. 100  mm dynamic stencils pattern sub-micrometre structures. Nanoscale 3,  2739-2742 (2011).   10. Meister, A., Liley, M., Brugger, J., Pugin, R. &  Heinzelmann, H. Nanodispenser for attoliter volume deposition using  atomic force microscopy probes modified by focused-ion-beam millingAppl.Phys.Lett. 85, 6260-6262 (2004).   11. Imboden, M., et al. Atomic Calligraphy: The Direct Writing of Nanoscale  Structures using MEMS. Nano Letters (2013). Also see Nanowerk  Spotlight: “Atomic  calligraphy – using MEMS to write nanoscale structures”.   12. Tseng, A. A. Advancements and challenges in development of atomic  force microscopy for nanofabrication. Nano Today 6, 493-509 (2011).   13. Egger, S., et al. Dynamic shadow mask technique: A universal tool for  nanoscience. Nano Letters 5, 15-20 (2005).   14. Darhuber, A. A., Valentino, J. P., Troian, S. M. &  Wagner, S. Thermocapillary actuation of droplets on chemically  patterned surfaces by programmable microheater arrays. Journal of  Microelectromechanical Systems, 12, 873-879 (2003).   15. Krpoun, R., Smith, K. L., Stark, J. P. & Shea, H. Tailoring the hydraulic impedance of out-of-plane  micromachined electrospray sources with integrated electrodesAppl.Phys.Lett. 94, 163502-163502-3 (2009).   16. Chaste, J., et al. A nanomechanical mass sensor with yoctogram  resolution. Nature Nanotechnology (2012).   17. Lang, H. P., Hegner, M. & Gerber, C. Cantilever  array sensors. Materials today 8, 30-36 (2005).   18. Arcamone, J., et al. Full-wafer fabrication by nanostencil lithography of  micro/nanomechanical mass sensors monolithically integrated with CMOSNanotechnology 19, 305302 (2008).   19. Laconte, J., Dupont, C., Flandre, D. & Raskin, J. SOI CMOS compatible low-power microheater  optimization for the fabrication of smart gas sensors. Sensors  Journal, IEEE 4, 670-680 (2004).   20. Jha, C., et al. CMOS-compatible dual-resonator MEMS temperature  sensor with milli-degree accuracy. Solid-State Sensors, Actuators and  Microsystems Conference, 2007. TRANSDUCERS 2007. 229-232 (2007).   21. Aksyuk, V. A., Barber, B. P., Gammel, P. L. & Bishop, D.  J. Construction of a fully functional NSOM using MUMPs  technology. Proceedings Volume 3226: Microelectronic Structures and MEMS for  Optical Processing III, 188-194 (1997).   22. Pikul, J. H., Zhang, H. G., Cho, J., Braun, P. V. &  King, W. P. High-power lithium ion microbatteries from  interdigitated three-dimensional bicontinuous nanoporous electrodes.

Nature Communications 4, 1732 (2013).   23.

http://www.memscap.com/products/mumps/polymumps/reference-material                       By Matthias Imboden and David Bishop, Department of Electrical and Computer  Engineering, Division of Materials Science and Engineering, Department of  Physics, Boston University

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SPIE Photonics West, February in San Francisco: QMC to Present

QDOTS imagesCAKXSY1K 8SPIE Photonics West 2013 expects to see growth from the largest-yet Biomedical Optics technical program and BiOS Expo. With strong programs in LASE, OPTO, and MOEMS-MEMS as well, the international event is expected to draw more than last year’s 20,000 attendees to the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, 2-7 February.

Note To Readers: Invited Speaker & Exhibitor At The “Emerging Molecular Diagnostics Parterning Furum” Feb 11-12 at Moscone Center San Francisco.

Mr. Stephen Squires (Quantum Materials Corporation) topic is “Flow Chemistry Process Biocompatable Inorganic High Quantum Yield Tetrapod Quantum Dots For The Next Generation of Diagnostic Assays, Multiplexed Drug Delivery Platforms and POC Devices”.

Tetra-Pod quantum dots can fulfill so many needs in the pharma and biomedicine area.

Nearly 1300 exhibiting companies are expected with 200 product launches. A SPIE Startup Challenge will offer cash award sponsored by Jenoptik to offer aspiring entrepreneurs venture capital exposure and mentoring.

Approximately 235 exhibiting companies are expected for the BiOS Expo. Available space in the exhibition halls is filling fast, and late-booking companies for the Photonics West Exhibition face the prospect of a waiting list.

Technical conference presentations are up approximately 5% over last year, with more than 4450 organized into four topical areas ― BiOS, LASE, MOEMS-MEMS, and OPTO ― and the Green Photonics virtual symposium.

The BiOS program provides the latest information on biomedical optics, diagnostics and therapeutics, biophotonics, molecular imaging, optical microscopy, optical coherence tomography, and optogenetics.

New conferences reflect important advances in personalized medicine:

  • Terahertz and Ultrashort Electromagnetic Pulses for Biomedical   Applications
  • Optogenetics and Hybrid-Optical Control of Cells
  • Optical Methods in Developmental Biology
  • Bioinspired, Biointegrated, Bioengineered Photonic Devices.

Opening-day speakers in the popular BiOS Hot Topics session include:

  • Ernst Bamberg (Max Planck Institute), optogenetics and hybrid-optical control of cells
  • Ben Potsaid (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), MEMs tunable VCSEL technology for ultrahigh-speed OCT
  • Dan Oron (Weizmann Institute of Science), patterned multiphoton photoactivation in scattering tissue by temporal focusing
  • Jonathan Sorger (Intuitive Surgical), clinical requirements for optical imaging in medical robotics
  • Bernard Choi (Beckman Laser Institute), camera-based functional imaging of tissue hemodynamics
  • Mathias Fink (Institute ESPCI, CNRS), multiwave approach to elasticity imaging for cancer detection
  • Joe Culver (Washington University in St. Louis), functional optical imaging of the brain
  • Vladimir Zharov (University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences), photoacoustic flow cytometry.

The MOEMS-MEMS program has seen a jump in submissions, driven primarily by more papers in the areas of microfluidics, bioMEMS, and medical microsystems, along with papers on micro-optics, and adaptive optics. Papers explore how MEMS and MOEMS will enable the mass-produced miniaturized products and integrated systems of the future. Plenary speakers are:

  • Bozena Kaminska (Simon Fraser University), future systems with nano-optics contributions
  • Aaron Knoblach (GE Global Research), optical MEMS pressure sensors for geothermal well monitoring
  • Kaili Jiang (Tsinghua University), super-aligned carbon nanotubes.

Presentations in the OPTO program cover the latest developments in a broad range of optoelectronic technologies and their integration for a variety of commercial applications. Topics include silicon photonics, photonic crystals, optoelectronics, semiconductor lasers, quantum dots, and nanophotonics. Plenary speakers are:

  • Markus Aspelmeyer (University of Vienna), quantum optomechanics
  • Richard Soref (University of Massachusetts, Boston), group IV photonics for the mid-IR
  • Miles Padgett (University of Glasgow), optical angular momentum.

The LASE program focus is on laser sources, lasers for manufacturing, lasers for micro/nanoengineering, and other applications. Highlights include laser resonators, fiber, solid state, and high-power lasers for materials processing and the world’s largest concentration of semiconductor laser/LED content.

Plenary speakers are:

  • Wim Leemans (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), particle acceleration and TeV physics and compact x-ray and gamma-ray sources
  • Martin Wegener (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), 3D metamaterials made by direct laser writing
  • Geert Verhaeghe (Faurecia Autositze), remote laser welding in automotive production.

A virtual symposium on Green Photonics reflects the integration of enabling photonics technologies in solutions to the world’s environmental and energy challenges. More than 65 papers from throughout the program are highlighted in this symposium.

Executive panels on market trends in photonics, sustainable technology, and silicon photonics and photonics integrated circuits and a talk by SPIE CEO Eugene Arthurs on government initiatives and opportunities for growth in photonics provide strong industry-focused content.

More than 70 short courses providing CEU accreditation provide a valuable resource for working professionals, spanning essential topics in optical, biomedical, laser, manufacturing, and optoelectronics engineering.

A comprehensive set of professional development workshops and other activities for students and early career professionals are offered, and the event will provide numerous opportunities for valuable networking throughout the week.

Accepted papers will be published in the SPIE Digital Library as soon as approved after the meeting, and in print volumes and digital collections.