We report on our development strategy of photo-curable resists for nanoimprint lithography (NIL) based on modularity. Starting with a basic formulation, we address two topics: the integration of fluorinated additives and the enhancement of the dry etching stability. We prove both concepts by the introduction of two different resists derived from the same basic formulation. The viscosity of the novel resist materials was optimized for inkjet dispensing at room temperature (RT). The novel resist materials can be applied either in NIL batch processes or in high-throughput roller processes. Batch-wise imprints were performed on various substrates such as Si or plastics, demonstrating the distinctive application versatility of the novel materials. Dry etching of spin-coated thin films on Si wafers was performed, demonstrating an etch stability versus Si of 3.5:1 by using the resist formulation with improved etching stability. Roll-to-roll NIL at high throughput on large areas was performed with web speeds of up to 30 m min−1 with different stamp materials. We conclude that all resists reported herein can be deposited via inkjet dispensing at RT, are suitable for continuous high-throughput imprinting on flexible substrates, and are applicable in step-wise NIL processes with good etch resistance in dry etch processes.
The high throughput and large area nanostructuring of flexible substrates by continuous roller processes has great potential for future custom applications like wire grid polarizers, antireflection films, or super-hydrophobic surfaces. For each application different material characteristics have to be considered, e.g. refractive index, hydrophobicity, or dry etch stability. Herein, we show experimental results of nanoimprint lithography resist developments focused on inkjetable and photo-curable resists suitable for high throughput production, especially roll-to-roll NIL. The inkjet deposition of the novel materials is demonstrated by the use of different state-of-the-art inkjet printheads at room temperature. A plate-to-plate process on silicon substrates was successfully implemented on a NPS300 nano patterning stepper with previously inkjet dispensed NIL resist. Furthermore, we demonstrate a throughput of 30 m min-1 in a roller NIL process on PET. Dry etching of unstructured thin films on Si wafers was performed, and it was demonstrated that the etch stability in Si is tunable to a value of 3.5:1 by a concise selection of the resist components. The surface roughness of the etched films was measured to be < 2 nm, after etching of around 100 nm of the resist films what is an essential factor for a low line edge roughness. All resists reported herein can be deposited via inkjet dispensing at room temperature, are suitable for continuous high throughput imprinting on flexible substrates, and are applicable in step-wise NIL processes with good etch resistance in dry etch processes.