Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

N2T2 DEVICES Report Summary

Project ID: 17481
Funded under: FP6-NMP
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - N2T2 DEVICES (Novel Nano-Template Technology And Its Applications To The Fabrication Of Novel Photonic Devices)

At the time of writing the N2T2 proposal there were few if any reports of true wafer-scale nano-imprinting, as the techniques reported relied on stepping and repeating a hard master usually generated by electron beam lithography. The combination of self-ordered and highly ordered porous alumina thin films and disposable mast technology, being developed in N2T2, represented opportunities to create new paradigms for nano-imprinting.

The main goal of N2T2 was to establish and deploy versatile nano-replication technologies based on porous alumina, for manufacturing novel sub-wavelength photonic elements with superior functionality.

The success of N2T2 can be measured by the fact that many of the outputs are already either informing or are being directly used in other research projects, including Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Integrated Projects, nationally funded research. Further, even before the end of the N2T2 project its outputs are being used in preproduction commercial product and process developments.

N2T2 was specifically designed as a strategic positioning of a group of large, medium and small companies with a key group of academic institutes to provide a sound basis for competitive capability to ensure economic growth with long-term sustainable prospects. The project has been designed to bring together an unprecedented alliance of core skills to develop essential technologies which can then be spun out into three major growth areas: low-cost solar panels, efficient QD LED/laser sources and paradigm-changing photonic crystal optical devices.

It was, for example, very unusual to bring together main-stream semiconductor skills relevant to 100s and 1000s of m2 production with large volume coating/replication skills appropriate to millions of m2, but it is precisely by doing this that ground-breaking new capabilities will be able to emerge. The vision was one that combines mass replication with quantum electronics.

Because the consortium members are each world-class in their field, they are very aware of the state of worldwide competition in this dynamic area. Therefore each activity has been targeted to ensure that the resulting capabilities will provide the N2T2 members with the ability to bring competitive products to a world-wide market whilst, at the same time, continuing to build Europe's specialist knowledge base in these key fields.

It was not realistic to expect the project to produce strategically important products in each area. Instead, it was vital to gain strategic prominence through the realisation of sample devices that can be used in many ways including development of world-wide strategic alliances with non-European partners. The industrial partners will use the results from the work to enhance their internal capabilities in terms of science, trained staff and production techniques. Hence Europe's industrial S&T base will be enhanced. The cutting-edge research in the academic institutions was expected to attract high quality PhD students and post-doc staff who were trained in novel techniques in exciting technological areas. The industrial partners disseminated best practice through their companies and spread the technical knowledge for the benefit of upgrading products. The four involved companies will focus their exploitation on replication technology (AIL, Holools), on HVPE and MOCVD technology (AIXTRON) and on organic solar cells technology (Konarka).

The work on wafer-scale nano-imprinting has opened new doors to European partnerships. There is widespread recognition that nano-imprinting is vital on the wafer scale, and the difficulties of standard techniques are also widely recognised. With the results gathered over the past two months of truly remarkable quality, combined with the proven capability of creating deep-etched structures (which had been in doubt given the unconventional nature of our resists), we are now recognised as credible commercial partners for ambitious new partnerships in high brightness LED fabrication where our techniques work at three potential levels of device fabrication: high quality GaN, light extraction, built-in diffractive optics. It is too early to say if these partnerships will be successful, but without the N2T2 work, this potentially disruptive technology opportunity would not have been possible.

The work in partnership with Konarka/JKU has given AIL increased confidence in its ability to replicate complex grating structures over large areas. This has opened up new potential partnerships in (surprisingly) medical diagnostics and display technology. Again, it is too early to say that these partnerships will be successful, but without the evidence of success from N2T2, this would not have happened.

Finally, the detailed work on various motheye-style structures driven by the needs of N2T2, and, in particular, the advanced AFM and SEM imaging from ILC has enabled AIL's own motheye business to progress significantly further than it otherwise would. In particular, N2T2 requires super-high quality motheyes and the combined work with Holotools on mastering then, via a third party, growing nickel replicas, has resulted in measurable and significant reductions in defect counts.

Related information

Reported by

AIXTRON AG
AACHEN
Germany
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