SANTA CLARA, Calif. During the SPIE Microlithography conference here, Photronics Inc. and Molecular Imprints Inc. (MII) claimed to have demonstrated and built one of the world's first masks--or templates--for nano-imprint lithography applications.
The template is used to process devices with MII's nano-imprint lithography tool. In December, MII unveiled a "step and flash imprint lithography" (S-FIL) tool for use in processing a range of emerging devices at the 100-nm (0.10-micron) node and below. The Austin, Texas-based company also claims that it has demonstrated the ability to process devices at linewidth geometries down to 20-nm (see Dec. 2, 2002 story ).
At SPIE on Monday, Motorola claimed it had printed images as low as 30-nm with MII's tool, a 1X technology that does not make use of an optical lens or traditional photomasks (see Feb. 25 story ).
And now, MII and photomask supplier Photronics have given the technology another major shot in the arm, by developing what it calls a "nano-imprint template."
The first templates are geared for 0.25-micron devices, although the companies are looking to develop products with smaller geometries, said Patrick Martin, director of research at Photronics, based in Brookfield, Conn. "It's a proof of concept," Martin said. "The hope is to get to 65-nm," he said in an interview with SBN at SPIE.
The 1X templates are created using standard 6025 photomask plates, which measure 6- x 6- x 0.25-in. Photronics is also looking at plates that measure 6- x 6- x 0.12-in. in order to create a more desirable nano-imprint template for production.
In the production process, the template undergoes what is called a phase-mask process, followed by the elimination of the chromium layer. Since the technology is 1X, the template is cut into four different pieces. Inspection is handled via a die-to-die approach verses a die-to-database methodology.