Scottish Microelectronics Centre installs UK-first nanolithography tool

The Scottish Microelectronics Centre (SMC) at the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano Systems (IMNS) has become the first facility in the UK to install the Heidelberg Nano (formerly SwissLitho) NanoFrazor Explore nanolithography tool.

The tool will allow researchers and industrial clients to perform rapid prototyping at the nano-metric scale in real-time.

The tool is a thermal scanning probe lithography (t-SPL) machine capable of producing features as small as four nanometres (nm). One nanometre is a thousand-millionth of a meter. The tool uses an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) style tip, which is heated up to vaporise a deposited substance known as ‘resist’ in order to form patterns on the substrate. The patterns generated can then be transferred into a substrate using lift-off and etching techniques, for the fabrication of advanced devices.
The t-SPL machine brings a low-cost nano-meter scale lithographic alternative to electron-beam (e-beam) lithography which, coupled with the SMC’s maskless lithography system (DMO MicroWriter ML3) and conventional mask aligner, provides a unique lithographic toolset capability.
Professor Rebecca Cheung, Head of IMNS, said “The new acquisition is an exciting opportunity for IMNS to integrate our existing micro-scale capability with the newly acquired nano-scale fabrication technology.  The move will extend current research in graphene, two-dimensional materials and nanowires, as well as open up new avenues of research with applications in, for example, biomedical, biomimetic, quantum and energy.”

Watch a video of the tool in action: 

Watch the video on YouTube.

The 3D video shows a grey-scale image of the SMC's Install Team that has been printed by the t-SPL tool in real-time. The image has been printed into a 30 micron x 22 micron frame with around 100nm (nanometre) depth, the size of which is similar to the diameter of a human hair. The whole image can fit onto the tip of a pin.  

To find out more, contact Dr Peter Lomax.

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