EVGNEWS Issue 2 2015



The HERCULES NIL, a fully integrated UV nanoimprint lithography (NIL) track solution for wafers up to 200 mm, is the latest addition to EVG's NIL product portfolio. Based on a modular platform, the HERCULES NIL combines EVG's proprietary SmartNIL™ imprinting technology with cleaning, resist coating and baking preprocessing steps. This turns the HERCULES NIL into a "one stop shop", where bare wafers are loaded into the tool and fully processed nanostructured wafers are returned. Fully automated imprinting and low-force detachment are supported within the equipment. The system can also be used to fabricate multiple-use soft stamps-which are a cornerstone for high-volume production-without requiring additional equipment.

In addition to EVG's expertise in NIL technology, the HERCULES NIL also benefits from EVG's extensive knowledge in coating platforms, which has been transferred to this system to meet the needs of NIL technology. For example, an embedded chemical cabinet has been added to guarantee optimal process results even with the most demanding resist formulations. The system is also available with a Class 1 (ISO 3) capable mini-environment to guarantee the lowest defect rates and highest-quality master replication.

Contrary to early industry expectations, the first HVM applications benefitting from NIL are not found in microelectronics. Instead, novel applications in nanotechnology, biotechnology and, in particular, photonics have emerged in recent months as the first applications to utilize NIL for HVM. Unique capabilities - such as manufacturing a wide range of structure sizes and shapes, including 3D structures, and nanopatterning of high-topography or rough surfaces - are essential to supporting the production of these devices.

EVG's SmartNIL UV-based NIL approach in combination with multiple-use soft stamp processing is fundamental to moving these emerging technologies into high-volume production. The combination of extensive equipment, materials and process know-how results in unmatched throughput and cost-of-ownership advantages while simultaneously providing large scalability and maintenance-friendly operation. Endurance and marathon test runs have demonstrated the HERCULES NIL's high-volume manufacturing capability. In addition, the multi-use soft stamp technology can prolong the lifetime of the master template to periods comparable to masks used for optical lithography. The HERCULES NIL merges all of these advantages with advanced pre-processing modules to provide the highest coating uniformity, which results in minimal residual layer thickness and minimal variation for processed structures over the entire wafer.
The HERCULES NIL demonstrates EVG's "Triple i" philosophy of invent-innovate-implement at work. From the early days of NIL, EVG was a pioneer in the development of NIL equipment. After more than a decade of research and continuous improvements to NIL processes and equipment, EVG has propelled NIL technology to a level of maturity that enables NIL applications to transition to high volume manufacturing (HVM).


Nanoimprinting with high-performance process modules:

  • Combines pre-processing and SmartNIL
  • Volume-proven imprinting technology with superior replication fidelity
  • Fully-automated imprinting and controlled low-force
    detachment for maximum working stamp reusability
  • Enables mass manufacturing of  40 nm structures
  • Supports a wide range of structure sizes and shapes
  • Optional mini-environment and climate control for best process stability and yield

Most cost-effective high-resolution production solution:

  • Optimized modular platform for high throughput
  • Low cost of ownership due to multiple-use soft stamp technology
  • Includes working stamp manufacturing capability
  • Master template lifetime comparable to masks used for optical ithography
  • Fastest curing times due to high-power lamp house
  • Easy to operate and maintenance-friendly

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EVG® NILPhotonics™ Competence Center Cleanroom

EVG ® HERCULES ®NIL Product Flyer

EVG ® Nano & Micro Imprint Technologies Brochure