Firms tout “end-to-end etch process” for NIL

September 10, 2007 – NIL Technology and Oxford Instruments say they have developed a common etch process that covers all etch steps in nanoimprint lithography production.

The system, carried out using Oxford’s Plasmalab System 100 inductively coupled plasma tool, spans the three NIL etch processes — etching nanoimprint stamps in fused silica and silicon (without trenching and without negative sidewall slopes), descumming (removal) of the residual layer of imprinted polymer, and the final etch step of transferring the pattern onto the substrate using either a soft mask or metallic mask (also patterned by dry etching).

The critical NIL step is residual layer removal, and the two firms have optimized removal of ~20nm thick residual layer results on ~10nm widening of grooves — vs. ~40nm widening with traditional isotropic residual layer removal processes, according to Theodor Nielsen, NIL Technology founder and CEO. “Rate for a stamp etch is not important but optimizing things like at low trenching and avoiding negative profile is important,” he told SST.

The companies are disclosing their results at this week’s Plasma Etch and Strip in Microelectronics event at IMEC in Leuven, Belgium; and later this month at the Micro and Nano Engineering conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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