Prospective research regarding rapid prototyping processes for applications in the field of micro- and nanosystems realization



General Overview

Today nanolithography techniques have reached maturity and are used on a wide scale for industrial production of integrated circuits with lower and lower pattern size. Among these nanolithography techniques, the optical ones are the most spread. The shrinkage of the device size comes to the increase of costs regarding the optical lithography process. This cost increase happens especially when entering the sub-100 nm range for the pattern size. There are two other challenges that today optically lithography techniques may not achieve:

a) ability to be directly applied to a wide range of materials (substrate & thin films) without using supplementary protection layers;
b) to fabricate really 3D structures at the nanoscale.

New nanolithography techniques have emerged, the most promising being those based on scanning probe techniques, such as dip pen nanolithography (DPN), fountain pen nanolithography, near field optical lithography, lithography based on the use of scanning tunneling microscope. However, they still lack the ability to build 3D structures.

For the present project, there are several questions that will be addressed:
1) which are the physical processes that may be used for achieving fully 3D nanoscale fabrication?
2) what class(es) of materials is / are suitable for such a use?
3) which are the technological steps for achieving that goal?
4) which are the tools (hardware, software) necessary for implementing such a process?
5) which are the main hurdles for passing to a well established technological process?
6) which is the complexity degree of the 3D geometries that can be obtained by using such a process?
7) is there any possibility to obtain a high yield technological process?
Answering to at least some of these questions will bring the novelty of our contribution.