EV Group (EVG), a leading
supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology
and semiconductor markets, today announced that Fraunhofer Institute for Applied
Optics and Precision Engineering IOF--one of 57 institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
dedicated to applied optics and precision applications-oriented research--selected
EVG's UV-based nanoimprint lithography (UV-NIL) step and repeat system for its
leading-edge optoelectronic research efforts. The Institute will be using the
UV-NIL stepper for micro-lens mastering and molding for a host of micro-optics
applications, including fiber optics and CMOS image sensors for wafer-level
cameras, as well as for other nanoimprinting applications.
EVG's unique step and repeat imprinting approach integrates a lens master generation
capability, which augments traditional single-step processes. This added capability
enables the creation of a lens master for working stamp fabrication and subsequent
full-wafer lens micro-molding. The system also offers significant cost-savings
advantages, particularly compared to traditional lens master fabrication techniques,
including the elimination of post-processing steps, the flexibility to use a
variety of commercially available resists, and increased throughput. Pulling
from its expertise in alignment systems, EVG's UV-NIL stepper features sub-micron
alignment accuracy, resulting in improved yield as well as device performance.
"We are continuing to push the envelope in micro-optics research, and
as such are looking for equipment partners that offer flexible, innovative,
yet cost-effective systems that keep us on the cutting edge," said Dr.
Peter Dannberg, group leader "Micro-optics Technology" of Fraunhofer
IOF. "After evaluating solutions from several nanoimprint lithography suppliers,
we ultimately selected EVG's system following positive demo results as well
as for its superior micro-lens mastering and nanoimprinting capabilities. The
process flexibility its UV-NIL stepper offers is a significant value add as
well since it provides us with the ability to utilize it for a variety of applications."
"This opportunity to partner with a bellwether research institute such
as Fraunhofer IOF is significant to us on many levels," noted Dr. Thomas
Glinsner, head of product management for EV Group. "EVG's history is deeply
rooted in serving R&D environments where there is a need for high-performance
tools that are flexible and cost effective. Working closely with R&D universities
and institutions is how we started our business, and over the years, it has
opened new markets to EVG, allowing us to be involved in technologies from R&D
infancy through high-volume commercialization. We are thrilled to be working
with a world-renowned institute like Fraunhofer, and look forward to the exciting
new opportunities our partnership may bring."
Nanoimprint lithography is gaining adoption in leading-edge R&D for various
devices including wafer-level cameras, where lower manufacturing costs without
sacrificing pattern fidelity is key to meeting the demands from markets such
as mobile phones and optics. EVG has been active in UV-NIL since 1997, and has
since worked with various industry partners and R&D institutions on developing
nanoimprinting technologies. Among its high-volume customer base is Heptagon
Micro-Optics Pte Ltd. in Singapore, who selected EVG's IQ Aligner for high-volume
microlens production announced in July 2008.