Nanoimprint Lithography – Patterning of Resists Using Molding


Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is an emerging high-resolution parallel patterning method, mainly aimed towards fields in which electron-beam and high-end photolithography are costly and do not provide sufficient resolution at reasonable throughput. In a top-down approach, a surface pattern of a stamp is replicated into a material by mechanical contact and three-dimensional material displacement. This can be done by shaping a liquid followed by a curing process for hardening, by variation of the thermomechanical properties of a film by heating and cooling, or by any other kind of shaping process using the difference in hardness of a mold and a moldable material. The local thickness contrast of the resulting thin molded film can be used as a means to pattern an underlying substrate at the wafer level by standard pattern transfer methods, but also directly in applications where a bulk modified functional layer is needed. This makes NIL a promising technique for volume manufacture of nanostructured components. At present, structures with feature sizes down to 5 nm have been realized, and the resolution is limited by the ability to manufacture the stamp relief. For historical reasons, the term nanoimprint lithography refers to a hot embossing process (thermal NIL). In ultraviolet (UV)-NIL, a photopolymerizable resin is used together with a UV-transparent stamp. In both processes thin-film squeeze flow and capillary action play a central role in understanding the NIL process. In this chapter we will give an overview of NIL, with emphasis on general principles and concepts rather than specific process issues and state-of-the-art tools and processes. Material aspects of stamps and resists are discussed. We discuss specific applications where imprint methods have significant advantages over other structuring methods. We conclude by discussing areas where further development in this field is required.



microcontact printing






atomic force microscope


atomic force microscopy


blu-ray disc


compact disc


critical dimension


complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor


chemical vapor deposition


cost of ownership


discrete track recording




digital versatile disc


electron-beam lithography


extreme ultraviolet


Food and Drug Administration


hard-disk drive


high-definition television


hot embossing lithography




International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors


jet-and-flash imprint lithography


liquid crystal on silicon


light-emitting diode


lateral force microscope


lateral force microscopy


lift-off resist


molecular assembly patterning by lift-off


microelectromechanical system


magnetic field microscopy


magnetic force microscope


magnetic force microscopy


molecular vapor deposition


next-generation lithography


organic light-emitting device




printed circuit board








poly(methyl methacrylate)






photonic crystal


reactive-ion etching


surface acoustic wave


step and flash imprint lithography


soft lithography


step-and-stamp imprint lithography




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory for Micro- and NanotechnologyPaul Scherrer InstituteVilligen PSISwitzerland
  2. 2.DTU NanotechTechnical University of DenmarkKongens LyngbyDenmark

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