Proton beam writing (p-beam writing) is a process which uses a focused beam of MeV protons to pattern resist material
at nanodimensions. This makes p-beam writing the only one tool for fast prototyping of high aspect ratio structures with
vertical walls up to 60μm and high aspect ratio values with details down to the 20 nm level. The process, although
similar in many ways to direct writing using electrons, nevertheless offers some interesting and unique advantages.
Protons, being more massive, have deeper penetration in materials whilst maintaining even energy deposition along a
straight path, enabling p-beam writing to fabricate 3D high aspect ratio structures with vertical smooth sidewalls and low
line edge roughness. Calculations have also indicated that p-beam writing exhibits minimal proximity effects, since the
secondary electrons induced in proton/electron collisions have low energy. A platform technology to integrate 3D
nanowires is proposed through high aspect ratio nanofabrication using p-beam writing.
Proton beam writing is a lithographic technique that can be used to fabricate microstructures in a variety of materials including PMMA, SU-8 and FoturanTM. The technique utilizes a highly focused mega-electron volt beam of protons to direct write latent images into a material which are subsequently developed to form
structures. Furthermore, the energetic protons can also be used to modify the refractive index of the material at a precise depth by using the end of range damage. In this paper we apply the proton beam writing technique to the fabrication of a lab-on-a-chip device that integrates buried waveguides with microfluidic channels. We have chosen to use FoturanTM photostructurable glass for the device because both direct patterning and refractive index modification is possible with MeV protons.
Proton beam writing is a new direct-write micromachining technique capable of producing 3-dimensional (3-D), high aspect ratio micro-structures with straight and smooth sidewalls. It uses a focused sub-micron beam of 2.0 MeV protons to direct-write on a suitable polymer, such as the photoresists: poly-methylmethacrylate (PMMA) and SU-8, a negative tone photoresist from MicroChem. In this paper, we report on the application of proton beam writing to fabricate low-loss passive polymer waveguide structures such as symmetric y-branching waveguides in SU-8. SU-8 channel waveguides are fabricated by first direct-writing the pattern using a proton beam and subsequently chemically developing the latent image formed. A UV-cured resin, Norland Optical Adhesive 88 (NOA-88) is used as the cladding layer. Being a direct-write technique, proton beam writing offers us great flexibility to fabricate waveguides of arbitrary patterns and this is an asset that can be applied to the rapid prototyping of optical circuits. With all its unique characteristics, proton beam writing is an excellent technique for waveguide fabrication.
Proton beam writing is a new direct write lithographic technique that utilizes a high energy (MeV) submicron focused proton beam to machine or modify a material, usually a polymer. Structures made using p-beam writing have very smooth side walls, high aspect ratio, and a scale that can be easily matched to existing optical fiber
technology (0.1 to 1000 μm). In this paper we demonstrate the use of proton beam writing for prototyping micro-optical components such as microlens arrays and gratings in positive and negative resist. The structures that are fabricated can be used for both rapid prototyping and for large scale replication with nanoimprint
The production of high aspect ratio microstructures requires a lithographic technique capable of producing microstructures with vertical sidewalls. There are few techniques (eg proton beam micromachining, LIGA and Stereolithoghaphy) capable of producing high aspect ratio microstructures at sub-micron dimensions. In Proton Beam Micromachining (PBM), a high energy (eg 2 MeV) proton beam is focused to a sub-micron spot size and scanned over a resist material (eg SU-8 and PMMA). When a proton beam interacts with matter it follows an almost straight path, the depth of which is dependent on the proton beam energy. These features enable the production of multilevel microstructures with vertical sidewalls of high orthogonality. Proton beam micromachining is a fast direct write lithographic technique; in a few seconds a complicated pattern in an area of 400 x 400 micrometers 2 can be exposed down to a depth of 150 micrometers . These features make proton beam micromachining a technique of high potential for the production of high-aspect-ratio-structures at a much lower total cost than the LIGA process, which requires a synchrotron radiation source and precision masks. Research is currently under way to improve the process that employs the SU-8 negative photo-resist as a mold to electroplate Ni. Experiments have shown that post-bake and curing steps are not required in this SU-8 process, reducing the effects of cracking and internal stress in the resist. Plated Ni structures can be easily produced which are high quality negative copies of the SU-8 produced microstructures.