Grant: $99,263 - National Science Foundation - Sep. 9, 2009
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Award Description: Technical Summary: There is an emerging need to create meso-, micro-, and nano-scale structures on samples with arbitrary topography. This capability would enable the realization of new devices such as: sensors for vector quantities, CCD cameras without blind spots for military or surveillance applications, and integration of passive tracking electronics on insects and other small animals for surveillance, pest control, and population studies. Moreover, Diffractive Optical Element (DOE) systems, Photonic Band Gap materials, Meta material systems, and micromechanical systems (MEMS) all create non-planar structures. Hence, integrating these technologies in a smart device necessitates access to a non-planar lithography tool. This project aims to develop a unique 3D lithography tool. An existing laser beam writer will be modified; the substrate?s local topography, including height, slope, and curvature will be determined in real time from the contrast distribution of substrate images taken with a high speed camera. The photoresist thickness and the substrate?s local optical properties will be estimated from real time spectroscopic measurement data. A novel high speed liquid crystal spatial modulator will be applied to shape, resize, and orient the focused laser beam in order to correct for topography, photoresist film thickness and substrate?s optical properties variations, and facilitate a constant exposure dose. Computer imaging and computer graphics techniques, such as multiple exposures, exposures with variable intensity, dithering, and equalization will be applied to the beam in order to generate almost perfect pixels. The proposed instrument will be developed by faculty and students from the physics, electrical engineering, and computer science departments of Texas State University. It will serve as a tool and resource for researchers and students in five different departments. Techniques developed from this research will be shared with lithography and imaging research/engineering communities. The developed prototype instrument will be used for teaching lithography by integrating it into relevant undergraduate and graduate courses. Layman Summary: Over the last 30 years, semiconductor manufacturing has seen a 30% annual increase in productivity. Improvements in lithography, the optical photographic process that is used to create integrated circuits, contribute for approximately half of this gain. In 2009, a top of the line industrial lithographic tool prints structures down to 45 nm (1000 times thinner than a human hair) with a speed of one billion Mega-pixels per second. Currently available instruments, however, only work on flat substrates making them unsuitable for many interesting applications. This project aims to develop a lithography tool that can be used to create small structures on not flat samples with arbitrary topography, such as shirt buttons, grains of sand, or the wings of an insect. The proposed instrument will make use of an existing laser beam writer which includes a laser that is focused through an optical microscope on the sample. Small structures are written directly on a photo-sensitive layer on top of the sample, by moving the sample under the focused laser beam. Corrections will be made to the shape and size of the focused laser beam using a novel high speed liquid crystal to adjust for the local properties of the sample. Computer graphics and optical techniques will be used to determine those local properties. The proposed tool will facilitate novel projects in integrated electronics, optics, mechanics, and magnetics, and enable the realization of novel new devices such as CCD cameras without blind spots, passive tracking electronics on insects for surveillance and pest control, medical operation tools with integrated optical and electronic sensors, and wearable computers (smart electronic gourmets). The complete abstract for this award is available in Research.gov at www.research.gov.
Project Description: See Award Description
Infrastructure Description: N/A
Jobs Summary: N/A (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Sep. 9, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.