EV Group (EVG), a supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology, and semiconductor markets, today announced the EVG770 NT — its next-generation step-and-repeat nanoimprint lithography (NIL) system. The EVG770 NT enables precise replication of micro- and nano-patterns for large-area master stamp fabrication used in high-volume manufacturing of augmented reality (AR) waveguides, wafer-level optics (WLO) and advanced lab-on-a-chip devices. Until now, further developments and production scaling requirements for step-and-repeat NIL have often been limited by the availability of precise masters on larger areas. Leveraging EVG’s decades of experience in NIL and step-and-repeat mastering, the EVG770 NT has been designed as a fully production-oriented system to maximize performance, productivity and process controllability. It provides industry-leading overlay accuracy and resolution with scalability up to 300mm-wafer and Gen-2-panel sizes. As a result, customers can now realize the promise of high-volume, cost-efficient and high-fidelity NIL patterning.
Benefits of Step-and-Repeat NIL
WLO, one of the main markets driving NIL adoption, has enabled completely new applications for mobile consumer electronic products — from improved autofocus for smartphone digital cameras and facial recognition for added smartphone security to 3D modeling and imaging enhancements for AR and virtual reality (VR) headsets. Step-and-repeat NIL enables cost-effective production of WLO as well as small structures used in microfluidic devices by taking a master mold of a single die that has been written with an electron beam or other technologies and replicating it multiple times across a substrate to create full-area master templates and stamps. The resulting step-and-repeat master can then be used to produce working stamps for subsequent wafer-level and panel-level manufacturing.
The ability to replicate larger master molds over ever-larger substrates allows more devices to be produced simultaneously as well as allows for the production scaling of larger individual devices without stitching. This approach offers significant yield and cost advantages compared to conventional mastering processes, such as diamond drilling, laser direct writing and electron-beam writing, which are difficult to scale up to larger substrates due to their low throughput and high cost of implementation. Incorporating the step-and-repeat process enables the use of best-performing dies and the ability to efficiently bring these high-quality patterns into production lines.