EV Group (EVG), a leading
supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology
and semiconductor markets, today unveiled its next-generation UV-nanoimprint
lithography (UV-NIL) step and repeat system--the EVG770 Gen II NIL Stepper.
The new system features capabilities designed to address growing customer demands
for improved pattern fidelity at ever-smaller feature densities, greater process
reliability and increased accuracy.
Commenting on today's announcement, EVG's Executive Technology Director, Paul
Lindner, noted, "We have been active in the nanoimprint lithography market
for more than a decade now, and have seen the technology evolve from its days
in R&D to manufacturing reality. To be part of enabling next-generation
lithography--and addressing our customers' needs--is truly exciting for the
company in myriad ways." Added Lindner, "The introduction of the EVG770
reinforces the company's commitment to our triple 'i' philosophy of invent,
innovate and implement--providing our customers with a highly flexible solution
to meet their R&D and production requirements. We look forward to continued
opportunities to work closely with our customers for their NIL needs."
Nanoimprint lithography has risen to become a competitive candidate for next-generation
lithography (NGL) due to its high resolution and cost-effective advantages.
The technology's potential has been acknowledged by leading experts, and has
been added to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS)
as a prospective NGL tool for micro- and nanoelectronics at the 32-nm node and
One of the main markets driving UV-NIL adoption is the micro-optics arena,
which utilizes master lenses to develop working stamps for full-wafer lens micro-molding
of CMOS image sensors for wafer-level cameras, among others. Augmenting traditional
single-step processes, EVG's step and repeat approach enables manufacturers
to create a master that can then be replicated across the substrate to subsequently
produce a full-wafer lens micro-mold. This approach offers significant yield
and cost advantages compared to conventional mastering processes, such as micromachining
techniques (e.g., diamond drilling), photoresist reflow, LIGA and e-beam writing.
In addition to CMOS image sensors, there is significant market potential for
EVG's NIL stepper in other micro-electronics applications, including micro-lens
arrays, waveguides, ring resonators, as well as R&D nanoelectronics processes
for dual damascene and contact holes.
EVG770 Key Features & Benefits
Some of the key new features the EVG770 touts include vacuum imprinting on
a spun-on polymer layer, which eliminates defect issues caused by trapped air
bubbles--ultimately resulting in superior pattern fidelity. With these new capabilities,
the EVG NIL stepper tackles issues faced by other UV-NIL approaches in which
vacuum-less environments and resists are dispensed as droplets rather than pre-spun,
which cause easy air traps and impact structural integrity.
Additionally, EVG's next-generation system features:
- Optical sensors that align the stamp and wafer into perfect
parallelism for contact-free wedge compensation
- Chuck movement via a non-contact bearing system to reduce particle
- High-precision alignment system with accuracy within +/-500 nm; <35-nm
overlay alignment accuracy has already been demonstrated on a test
- Load-cell measurement of embossing/de-embossing force, improving
imprint uniformity and process reliability due to active force control
and allowing for real-time, in-situ characterization of various
commercially available resists and anti-sticking layers
- Flexible equipment automation levels, making the NIL Stepper, an easy
and economical transition from R&D to small- or high-volume
- De facto template form factor to shorten the fabrication turnaround
- Capability to support a host of commercially available resists with
varying viscosities between 1 to several 1,000 mPas, improving process
flexibility for micro molding and nanopatterning
EVG has been active in UV-NIL since 1997, and has since worked with various
industry partners and R&D institutions to develop nanoimprinting technologies.
Recent UV-NIL activities include an order from Fraunhofer IOF announced in May
The EVG770 is available immediately for purchase. For more information or to
learn more about the EVG770 and other EVG NIL solutions, please visit www.evgroup.com.