Roll 2 Roll Technology
Unlimited Nanomanufacturing Applications
From parallel nanoimprint lithography to roll to roll processing
Throughout the last years the requirements of customers have created new trends and needs for their products. The prerequisite for flexible, low weight, energy harvesting and low cost products has lead the nano-manufacturing industry to look into new technological platforms to transform their products from rigid to flexible.
R2RNIL is a modified version of parallel NIL were a cylindrical stamp is used to pattern a flexible polymer film. This next generation lithography process could be used in various field which require low cost and high throughput nano-manufacturing.
Roll-to-roll (R2R) processing is a broadly defined terminology encompassing a range of processes wherein a substrate is transferred between two moving rolls during which the processes are applied to the substrate. As such, the processes have both a time and spatial occurrence, thereby requiring specific customization to achieve the desired process outcomes. Roll to Roll nanoimprint lithography (R2RNIL), involves the patterning of thin flexible materials such as plastics or metal foils. The flexible material, or web, is unwounded from a core, processed, and then returned to a second core at the end of the sequence. Roll-to-roll nanoimprint lithography enables continuous patterning of nanostructures on flexible substrates with at least an order of magnitude higher processing speed than that of conventional NIL.
MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW
Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is an alternative lithographic technique with proven high throughput capabilities which has found applications in multidisciplinary industries. In NIL, the negative topography of a master mould/stamp is transferred to a resist material which has been deposited on a supporting substrate by mechanical deformation as the mould/stamp is embossed into the resist. The resist material is hardened before the mould/stamp is retracted.
Several variations of NIL have been demonstrated. In thermal NIL, a thermoplastic polymer is softened before imprinted by heating above its glass transition temperature, while in ultraviolet light assisted NIL (UVNIL) the mould/stamp is embossed into a photo-curable material, which is hardened by UV-exposure through the transparent mould/stamp or substrate. The patterned polymer film can subsequently be used for pattern transfer to the substrate – e.g. etch or lift-off – or the polymer film itself can constitute the final device.