Optical and ebeam lithography

Lithography is a critical step in the miniaturization process. The lithography equipment offered in the IRDQ can meet the most challenging task in terms of surface structuring on the mico- or nano- meter scale. Expertise and processes developed around this equipment by highly qualified personnel make it possible to quickly meet the needs of the users.

Optical lithography

Optical lithography (or photolithography) is a parallel microfabrication process. This technique involves the use of a UV light through a mask consisting of opaque and transparent zones to expose, in a photosensitive polymer, motifs to be reproduced simultaneously over the entire surface of a substrate. Users have access to many mask aligners, which guarantee excellent fidelity when transferring the mask’s pattern on a 1X scale (no image reduction optics) with typical resolutions of 0.7 µm and micrometer alignment precision.

Direct laser writing, another photolithographic technique, is used in the production of photolithographic masks as well as the quick prototyping and production of circuits where the fabrication of a mask for high-volume production is not economically justified. The IRDQ has two laser writing systems. One of them, the DWL-66FS from Heidelberg, is unique in Canada and is equipped with a 375 nm laser source as well as an optical focus allowing the processing of small samples (5 mm).

Electron beam lithography

For motifs of less than 0.7 µm, electron beam lithography is the method of choice. This technique uses an electron beam (just a few nanometres in diameter) swept over a layer of electrosensitive polymer to define the motifs. While this sequential writing process is necessarily long compared to photolithography, it can define motifs in the order of 10 nm. The IRDQ has an extensive pool of e-beam tools, including one of the world’s most effective electron beam lithography units: the VB6 UHR (UltraHigh Resolution) EWF (Extended Wide Field). Given its unique performance in terms of writing field (1.2 mm), resolution (< 25 nm), alignment (< 25 nm), and writing speed (50 MHz), as well as the very strict control of the surrounding environment, the VB6 UHR EWF is the tool of choice for the development or production of structures and devices with nanometer resolution on a great variety of substrates. Electron beam lithography is also the ideal technique for the production of high-resolution masks for photolithography and the fabrication of moulds for imprint of nanometer-scale objects.