USHIO brings NIL ashing system to US market

February 23, 2011 – BUSINESS WIRE — USHIO America Inc. will start marketing the nano-imprint vacuum ultra violet (VUV) ashing system "CHIPs (Compact HiPower System)" in the US in March. Incorporated into nano-imprint lithography (NIL) equipment to be used for fabricating circuit patterns of LEDs, MEMS, functional films, and biochips, the CHIPs allows non-contact and damage-free cleaning, surface improvement, and ashing of templates and workpieces.

NIL is a lithography technology that transfers a circuit pattern by directly imprinting a template (or mold) with the circuit pattern on a workpiece (a resist-coated silicon, sapphire, or film substrate). It has the advantage of being a low-cost process, allowing large-area pattern transfer, and being suitable for mass-production. NIL already has been put into practical use for fabricating circuit patterns with a line width at a µm level. NIL has evolved with further research and development efforts to establish a finer-pattern process technology at a nm level.

Today, the NIL process faces challenges caused by putting a workpiece into contact with a template (contamination with resist residue, fill failures, deteriorating release properties), which are obstacles for fabricating finer patterns as well as enhancing productivity. Wet- or dry-cleaning equipment needs to be separately installed to clean the templates by removing them from the NIL equipment. Wet-clean equipment has an insufficient cleaning capability, causes a risk of generating chemical residue, and requires additional processes (such as drying and waste disposal). The dry-cleaning equipment using plasma, meanwhile, has disadvantages in that it causes damage to a workpiece and requires additional components (such as a vacuum chamber).

Click to EnlargeUSHIO developed its new nano-imprint VUV ashing system "CHIPs" by applying and optimizing its lighting-edge technologies to NIL to achieve non-contact and damage-free high cleaning power using VUV light. In addition, the CHIPs can be incorporated into the NIL equipment to allow reduced downtime and increased automation.

USHIO will exhibit and participate in the "SPIE Advanced Lithography 2011" conference, to be held February 27 through March 3, 2011, at the San Jose Convention Center and San Jose Marriot in San Jose, CA, on Booth 428.

USHIO AMERICA INC. provides specialty and general illumination lighting solutions. For further information, visit www.ushio.com.

USHIO INC. handles a variety of lighting equipment, halogen lamps for OA, UV lamps for exposure used in semiconductor/liquid crystal display/LED manufacturing processes, high-brightness discharge lamps for data projectors and xenon lamps for movie projectors. For further information, visit www.ushio.co.jp.

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