Objectives and content
Microfabrication is a combination of technologies for
making structures of several micrometers and smaller in
size. Microfabrication involves numerous cost intensive
process steps. The extremely high cost of the equipment
is a major setback for wider business activity in this
field. In particular this presents a problem for small
and medium-size companies working on numerous niche
markets in the area of microfabrication for sensor,
actuator, optical applications, repair of masks etc.
This project aims to develop a novel technology for
microfabrication based on direct structuring of surfaces
with a jet of chemically active plasma only 80 nm in
diameter or even less, with simultaneous in-situ imaging.
The nanonozzle emitting the jet will scan over the
surface thus forming a required structure. His highly
innovative technology will eliminate many process steps
and will therefore be better suited for a small scale or
pilot production and prototype development of microelectro-mechanical systems or integrated optics.
Direct fabrication of submicron-size structures of
materials with required electronic properties will also
be possible by the local plasma-solid reaction. This
process will complement conventional lithography
technologies for fabrication of microelectronic devices.
The technology will also allow simultaneous
microfabrication and imaging with resolution better than
50 nm through the detection of the shear force between
the nanonozzle and the surface thus giving a new
dimension in the process control. It will therefore be
suitable for in-situ on the spot analysis of the crosssections of microdevices.
The proposed project brings together two SMEs (one of
which co-ordinates it) and two university groups in a
multi-sectorial consortium. The partners working in the
areas of plasma microfabrication and high-resolution
microscopies have complementary expertise. Both SMEs are
potential end-users: one of them is interested in
implementing such a technology for repair of stencil
masks and the other is interested in manufacturing
equipment for novel technology.
In the course of the project the nanonozzles will be
developed and fabricated. The instrument for scanning
the nozzle including feedback for distance regulation,
control electronics and software will be made.
Finally, direct structuring on the silicon surfaces of
the features 80 nm and smaller in size and repair of
intentionally created defects in stencil masks will be
demonstrated. The potential of the technology for
commercial application will be assessed.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts