Although the field of optical lithography is highly investigated and numerous improvements are made, structure sizes smaller than 20 nm can only be achieved by considerable effort when using conventional technology. To cover the upcoming tasks in future lithography, enormous exertion is put into the development of alternative fabrication technologies in particular for micro- and nanotechnologies that are capable of measuring and patterning at the atomic scale in growing operating areas of several hundred square millimetres. Many new technologies resulted in this process, and are promising to overcome the current limitations1, 2, but most of them are demonstrated in small areas of several square micrometers only, using state-of-the-art piezo stages or the like. At the Technische Universitat Ilmenau, the NanoFabrication Machine 100 (NFM-100) was developed, which serves as an important experimental platform for basic research in the field of scale-spanning AFM tip-based and laser-based nanomeasuring and nanofabrication for simultaneous subnanometre measuring and structuring on surfaces up to Ø100 mm. This machine can be equipped with several probing systems like AFM, laser focus probes and 3D-micro probes as well as tools for different nanofabrication technologies like tip-based technologies, optical technologies and mechanical two-dimensional technologies in a large working range with subnanometre reproducibility and uncertainty. In this paper, the specifics and advantages of the NFM-100 will be described as well as nanofabrication technologies that are currently worked on e.g. advanced scanning proximal probe lithography based on Fowler-Nordheim-electron-field emission, direct laser writing and UV-nanoimprint lithography.
In 2019, the Institut für angewandte Photonik (IAP) e. V. in cooperation with Nano Optics Berlin (NOB) GmbH and SIOS Meßtechnik GmbH has made an important progress in the technology for precision soft X-ray optics – the development of three-dimensional (3-D) reflection zone plates (RZPs) with diffractive compensation of slope errors. 2-D mapping of spherical and toroidal grating substrates was used for the metrology of their individual profile. Based on these data, the inscribed grating structure, which corrects the slope error distribution, was computed. The correction algorithm has been implemented as a Python script, and first pilot samples of slope error compensated RZPs are in fabrication process. The 3-D device can replace two or three components in an optical scheme and, therefore, reduce absorption losses by several orders of magnitude. Beyond, the fabrication of customized 3-D Fresnel structures on curved substrates promises considerable improvements for efficiency, resolution and energy range in wavelength dispersive applications. As an example, we present simulations for a compact instrument within (150 – 250) eV. Further development of this approach toward commercial availability will enable the design and construction of compact soft Xray monochromators and spectrometers with unique parameters.
In view of the increasing demands on precision optics, microelectronics and precision mechanics nanoscale structuring processes are of great interest. It is becoming more and more important to apply a large number of structures that are as small as possible to ever larger areas with high reliability and to increase the number of structures per area element (packing density). The straightness and uniformity of these structures, as well as the positioning accuracy during the fabrication of such narrow lines and points are at the center of the increase of the packing density. A further decisive role is played by the development of suitable sensors and tools for the production and measurement of these structures. The development and the combination of a new laser based probe for the measurement and a direct laser writing (DLW) tool for the creation of sub-micro structures forms the core of this topic. The new sensor is based on a confocal measuring principle. A fiber coupling is used to avoid thermal influences. At the same time, the fiber end itself serves as a confocal pinhole. For the process tool, comprehensive investigations of laser and resist parameters are necessary. The first results are shown. These two parts are investigated separately and combined at the end of the work. In order to achieve the necessary positioning accuracy, the tool is integrated into the Nanopositioning and Measurement Machine (NPMM).
The positioning range of ultra precise positioning systems is restricted to certain hundreds of micrometers in lateral direction due to the application of piezoelectrical stages. Using galvanometer scanner, the range is limited even to tens of micrometer or by restriction of accuracy. Direct laser writing processes can be done with a combination of both positioning techniques, but structures in the millimeter range can only be achieved by using stiching methods. The nanopositioning and nanomeasuring machine NMM-1, developed at TU Ilmenau together with SIOS Meβtechnik GmbH, provides a large positioning volume of 25 mm × 25 mm × 5 mm with a positioning resolution in the sub-nanometer range. A combination of this precise positioning machine with common laser writing tools like UV direct laser writing or two-photon polymerization enables to produce structures with metrological traceability. The laser writing techniques base on both one-photon absorption and two-photon processes in the used photosensitive materials. Therefore, a 405 nm fiber-coupled laser diode for the one-photon processes and a 805 nm femtosecond laser are guided through an objective onto the positioning stage of the NMM-1. In first experiments, structures with sub-10 μm linewidths could be achieved. Furthermore, a probe system consisting of a hologram laser unit with a wavelength of a 650 nm is applied to the setup to control the focus spot of the machining laser onto the sample’s surface. That leads to a further decrease in the linewidths of the structures.
Cost-effective generation of single-digit nano-lithographic features could be the way by which novel nanoelectronic devices, as single electron transistors combined with sophisticated CMOS integrated circuits, can be obtained. The capabilities of Field-Emission Scanning Probe Lithography (FE-SPL) and reactive ion etching (RIE) at cryogenic temperature open up a route to overcome the fundamental size limitations in nanofabrication. FE-SPL employs Fowler-Nordheim electron emission from the tip of a scanning probe in ambient conditions. The energy of the emitted electrons (<100 eV) is close to the lithographically relevant chemical excitations of the resist, thus strongly reducing proximity effects. The use of active, i.e. self-sensing and self-actuated, cantilevers as probes for FE-SPL leads to several promising performance benefits. These include: (1) Closed-loop lithography including pre-imaging, overlay alignment, exposure, and post-imaging for feature inspection; (2) Sub-5-nm lithographic resolution with sub-nm line edge roughness; (3) High overlay alignment accuracy; (4) Relatively low costs of ownership, since no vacuum is needed, and ease-of-use. Thus, FE-SPL is a promising tool for rapid nanoscale prototyping and fabrication of high resolution nanoimprint lithography templates. To demonstrate its capabilities we applied FE-SPL and RIE to fabricate single electron transistors (SET) targeted to operate at room temperature. Electrical characterization of these SET confirmed that the smallest functional structures had a diameter of only 1.8 nanometers. Devices at single digit nano-dimensions contain only a few dopant atoms and thus, these might be used to store and process quantum information by employing the states of individual atoms.