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Esprit Project 28785 - NANOTECH
Development of Nanoimprinting technique suitable for large area mass production of nm-scale patterns

Keywords: MEL-ARI Nano-Scale ICs, imprinting


This project aims at developing a new and emerging technology, nano-imprinting, which has the potential to revolutionise the production of nm-scale devices and integrated circuits. It will be scientifically and industrially orientated towards development of a key emerging fabrication technology for future nm-scale devices with high performance and low power consumption like e.g. single electron transistors. The nano-imprinting technique will be suitable for mass production. In this respect the project is addressed to fill a gap in the technology available. Future high volume data storage and high speed data processing will require reliable large area patterning technologies for fabrication of nano-scaled structures. Present lithography for 10 - 100 nm structures (e-beam, X-ray, ion projection) suffers from severe drawbacks for volume production, limited throughput or expensive equipment, or they have not yet proven reliable for production.

In order to improve this unsatisfactory situation our objective is to develop a new technology called nano-imprinting. The basic idea is quite simple. In contrast to conventional exposure and development procedures a polymer/resist mask is patterned by a stamp. Under adequate temperature and pressure conditions, patterns of 25 - 100 nm lines / spaces / dots have been reported in a laboratory scale for 1 x 1 cm-square printing areas.

Our approach is directed towards development of nano-imprinting on large areas, by focussing on development of a wafer scale parallel process (150 mm diameter) and a step & stamp process. The feasibility has been shown and both approaches have already been addressed by preliminary work of the partners. For dedicated solution of the major problems, like sticking and shrink, a polymer manufacturer is a partner. Evaluation of the technological basis for the large-scale technique is done via small-scale optimisation of materials and processing technologies. The suitability of nano-imprinting with respect to fabrication of electrical and optical target devices and their quality will be tested.

As a result we expect a nanofabrication technique with capabilities for mass production, with a clear identification of its potential. Technical solutions will be available to overcome or postpone the major production-relevant fundamental limitations. The technique has the potential for replacing state of the art e-beam lithography. The nano-imprint technology is therefore an emerging technology for future information processing circuits. The worldwide semiconductor sales will rise to more than $ 200 billion by 2001 and the reduction of the circuit minimum feature size in direction of 0.10 microns in a few years time is an objective demand.

The results of the project should enable European industry to develop nano-imprint equipment for fabrication of high-speed, high density devices. This equipment is expected to be of limited complexity, so that SMEs could use the opportunity to reconquer parts of the semiconductor equipment market. For device manufacturers in the Si domain and beyond, nano-imprinting could be an enabling and needed technology for mass fabrication of future quantum electronic devices.

Contact Point
Dr. Lars Montelius
Lund University
Department of physics
Professorsgatan 1
PO box 118
S - 221 00 Lund

e-mail: (E-mail removed)

Start date: 1 July 98
Duration: 18 months

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