editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Nanoimprint for Photonics

EVG_SmartNIL_Full_Area_UV_Nanoimprint_Lithography_Wafer_red.jpgWe’ve talked about photonics before and we’ve talked about nanoimprint lithography (NIL) before. Creating silicon photonics features requires masking, which requires lithography, and so it might not be a surprise to hear that all different kinds of lithography techniques – including NIL – were being explored for photonics.

Which is how I went into a discussion with EV Group at Semicon West. But that’s not what the story is at all. This is not about patterning resists to pattern silicon for silicon photonics – this is about building photonics structures directly out of… various other non-silicon materials, using imprint as a direct patterning approach.

I can’t help but think about NIL as if it were printing vinyl albums. Which are black. (Except a few novelty ones.) Even if printing resist, any resist I remember seeing way back in my fab days was distinctly not transparent. So picturing these materials as conduits for light is something my brain, well, resists.

But it’s apparently true: many of the materials available to be imprinted happen to be transparent (at suitable wavelengths). So you can build the conduits right on the surface of the wafer – no further etching required.

EVG notes that there are a number of high-volume apps for NIL these days:

  • Polarizers
  • Patterns for extracting more energy out of LEDs
  • Biotech (they can’t say specifically what)
  • And… one more big one coming that they also couldn’t talk specifically about.

Meanwhile, they’ve also teamed with Leti in a so-called INSPIRE program to further develop techniques and applications for NIL. You can find more about this in their announcement.

 

(Image courtesy EV Group)

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jul 19, 2019
I am sure you can't fail to have noticed that tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon. It has been everywhere for the last few weeks. I was a teenager. I remember... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site. ]...
Jan 25, 2019
Let'€™s face it: We'€™re addicted to SRAM. It'€™s big, it'€™s power-hungry, but it'€™s fast. And no matter how much we complain about it, we still use it. Because we don'€™t have anything better in the mainstream yet. We'€™ve looked at attempts to improve conven...