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20 December 2006 Maskless lithography using off-the-shelf inkjet printer
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Photolithography is the most important process used to pattern the surface of silicon wafers in IC fabrication. It has shown high performance but its use is not cost-effective for small series or prototyping as it necessitates a costly infrastructure (mask aligner) and requires the fabrication of masks which can be expensive and timeconsuming. Recently, the high resolution achieved by ink-jet printer (> 1200 DPI) starts to make an interesting alternative to obtain a patterned protective layer instead of using photolithography. This is particularly true for MEMS which often need a resolution of only 10 to 20 μm. After studying the different architecture of inkjet printer available in the market, a commercial S$100-printer was selected and modified to allow printing on a rigid silicon wafer. We then developed three different patterning processes using the printer. In a first process the ink was directly used as a protective layer for patterning. A second process modified the photolithography by using the printed ink as a photo-mask on a spun layer of photoresist. In each case we had to modify the surface energy of the wafer by surface treatment to improve the resolution. Finally we replaced the ink with a modified photoresist solution and directly printed a protective mask onto the wafer. Design of Experiment (DOE) methods were systematically employed to study the main and interaction effects of the parameters on the lithography and on the pattern transfer. The series of experiment showed that off-the-shelf ink-jet printer could be used easily for pattern with a resolution below 50 μm, but could not yet reach the 20 μm range.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Leo Cheng Seng and Franck Chollet "Maskless lithography using off-the-shelf inkjet printer", Proc. SPIE 6415, Micro- and Nanotechnology: Materials, Processes, Packaging, and Systems III, 64150T (20 December 2006);

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