Engineers Develop Road Map

A plastic sheet containing micro-mechanical features

The results of the three-year study, conducted by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Sandia National Laboratories, provide a “road map” to guide development of next-generation micro- and nanometer scale high-resolution imprint manufacturing.

“This work provides a rational link between what engineers want to make using nanoimprint lithography and the path for creating them,” said William King, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Mechanical Engineering. “We have developed manufacturing design rules that will give future users of this technology a predictive tool kit so they’ll know what to expect over a broad range of parameters.”

Using the results of experimental work and a simulation program, the research team examined every variable involved in the nanoimprinting process, recording the outcome of each incremental change through the design space. They studied such variables as shear deformation of the polymer, elastic stress release, capillary flow and viscous flow during the filling of imprinting tool cavities that had varying sizes and shapes.

“This helped us to resolve the phenomenological events that occur during the manufacturing process and to link them to the observed experimental outcomes,” King explained. “Because we have blanketed the entire design space, we have a firm understanding on the linkage between process parameters and outcomes.”

The results could have applications in semiconductor manufacturing, where nanoimprinting offers a potential alternative to increasingly expensive lithography processes to produce circuitry. It could also help make high-volume production of nanoscale structures for optoelectronic, biomedical and other applications more economically feasible.

COMPAMED.de; Source: Georgia Institute of Technology