In order to define smaller and smaller structures, top-down micro- and nanotechnology pushes to reach new boundries. One of the major challenge in todays technology is the lithography, where predefined patterns are transferred to the wafer.
E-beam lithography is a known technology taking lithography to the next stage. Usually contact UV lithography can create features with a resolution down to 1 micrometer limited by first order optical principles (e.g.the wavelength of UV light used to expose the photoresist).
Instead of projecting a 1:1 image of a shadow mask onto a wafer, the pattern can be written with a very fine beam of electrons somehow comparable to television/oscilloscope tubes, however with uncomparable resolution and precision. DTU Danchip's E-beam tool can write with a resolution down to 20nm.
Reserach grade E-beam writers are based on modified scanning electron microscopes (SEM). These tools although rather cost efficient, suffer from poor stability, limited writing area and slow writing speed. Large area, feature rich, nanometerscale patterns can not be realized with these tools.
DTU Danchip's E-beam writer (JEOL-JBX9300) can, due to its unique stability, write patterns on a full 300mm wafer with a resolution down to 20nm. This unique stability, has to be ensured by a heavy foundation and tight environment control. The E-beam tool has been installed in a class 10 cleanroom and has a special temperature and air humidity control. It is shielded to prevent electromagnetic interference.
To maintain high stability and improve the performance of this complex machinery, two dedicated DTU Danchip staff members isre dedicated to its operation.
The E-beam facility is key tool for research and development purposes, but the wafer throughput compared to traditional lithography can be an issue. To reproduce nanometer scale features with high throughput (and hence cost efficient) DTU Danchip,, together with several partners, offers another technology called Nano Imprint Lithography (NIL) which scales E-beam writing to a production capable technique. Read about Nano Imprint Lithography here.