Shadow Edge Lithography for Fabrication of Nanoscale Structures
Introduction Fabrication of structures at dimensions below 45 nanometers (nm) is a challenge facing commercial semiconductor and emerging nanofluidic devices. The ability to create nanochannels, nanowires, nanodots, and nanogaps will open up a new generation of components for electronic and biotechnology applications. Technology description By combining conventional photolithography with established shadow lithography, researchers at the University of Washington have developed a technique to create features at sizes as small as 2 nm. The technique utilizes an off-normal angle of incidence in an e-beam evaporation chamber to create positive structures such as nanowires, as well as negative structures like nanochannels and nanopores in Si. Business opportunity The ability to fabricate features below 32 nm will determine whether the microelectronics industry can continue to follow Moore’s Law and keep pace with growth projections of over $400 Billion by 2010. Conventional photolithography will reach its effective limit in the next three years, and new methods are needed to meet the demand for shrinking feature sizes and denser packing of integrated circuit elements. In addition, burgeoning growth in nanotechnology requires innovative approaches to produce structures that will enable such products at implantable nanoscale drug delivery devices, high-throughput genetic analysis devices, and nanofluidic-based lab-on-a-chip analytical systems. Stage of development The feasibility of shadow edge lithography has been experimentally demonstrated, and the results indicate that scalability to production-volume processing is possible. Intellectual property position U.S. and foreign patent protection for this technology is pending.
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