Nanoimprinting is an advanced method that allows the creation of circuits by pressing the imprinting of a scale mask on the substrate. This method is used for manufacturing nanostructures of various nanoscale devices such as nanoelectromechanical oscillators and graphene-based transistors.
However, before using nanoimprint technology, it’s important to know a few things about it.
Techniques of Nano-imprinting: There are several methods which are used under this technology but two commonly used types are:
- Hot Embossing: This is one of the common methods where polymer films are structured and embossed while heating them above the glass transition temperature. In comparison with other methods, hot embossing is less prone to defects and can be used for macro-scale embossing as well.
- UV-based Nanoimprinting: Under it, a photo-curable resist is used to withstand the UV-light exposure. This technique facilitates multi-level patterning and can be performed at room temperature without generating thermal gradients. Also, stamps can be easily obtained by casting and curing a liquid precursor onto a silicon master. With this technique, a polymer resist can be manufactured three times faster than the traditional techniques.
Working principle of Nanoimprinting: This technology is based on the straightforward approach of physically applying a mask on the circuit pattern. It does not require expensive optics, short-wavelength-based light sources, and advanced patterning machine. Such a simple process cuts down the overall cost of imprinting and minimizes the chip failure rates.
Here’s how it works:
- The nanostructured polymer and silicon mold are pressed with controlled pressure under the chamber
- In the same process, the temperature is also controlled with respect to the level of the substrate coating layer on the material.
- Lastly, the mold is removed from the chamber and the characters are imprinted on the substrate in an inverse manner.
Application in different industries:
- Bio-medical devices like Microfluidics, Life Sciences, Lab-on-chip Systems, DNA Stretching, and Rapid Prototyping.
- Fabrication of photovoltaic layer in solar cells, polarization control, and high-density magnetic recording
- Acts as a compact sensor to trace the amount of chemicals present in pesticides and bacteria.
- It is also used in 3D screening, telecommunications, and engineering.
In regard to its robust features and recent development, nanoimprint is considered one of the best alternatives to conventional lithographic technology and can be a real game-changer for various disciplines including medical science, photography, aerospace, and manufacturing.