3D microfabrication: Grayscale lithography seminar at Tohoku University

Yokohama, 15 January 2019: On the 8th and 9th of November, the Micro System Integration Center (μSIC) and Heidelberg Instruments KK jointly presented a successful seminar and associated workshop focused on grayscale lithography. The events took place at the Nishizawa Center at the Tohoku University and created a very positive echo among participants.

Recently, the Japanese market has seen a significantly increased demand in tools for 3D microstructure fabrication. This rising interest was addressed in this seminar / workshop by talks and demonstrations. A distinguished field of speakers from the photolithography industry provided insight into grayscale lithography. Grayscale lithography is the art of creating 3D surface microstructures by spatially modulating light intensity during exposure. After development, the intensity gradient is reflected in the resulting resist topography: These features can subsequently be transferred into substrate topography, for example in mastering. Main application areas of grayscale are micro-optics, micro-fluidics and MEMS / MOEMS.

More than 50 attendees – both from research and industry – got together for the seminar. A first highlight of this event was an introductory talk by Masayoshi Esashi – a pioneer of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and award winner of the IEEE Jun-ichi Nishizawa Medal.

In his presentation, Steffen Diez, CSO of Heidelberg Instruments Mikrotechnik, gave a comprehensive introduction into maskless lithography systems and direct writing techniques, which Heidelberg Instruments has pioneered for more than 30 years. Andreas Ludwig then introduced the audience to the principles of grayscale lithography. Nezih Unal from GenIsys complemented the session by a talk about advanced software-based optimizations and simulation. The process and the related materials are particularly important in grayscale: A presenter from micro resist technology provided detailed information on thick positive tone photoresists. For certain applications however, miniaturization beyond micro-structures and therefore different lithography techniques may be required: A speaker from SwissLitho addressed the nanostructure range with a talk on Thermal Scanning Probe Lithography. The final presentation was given by Professor Kentaro Totsu, researcher at the Tohoku University and the Deputy Director of the Micro System Integration Center and a renowned expert in microfabrication, MEMS, sensors, and microsystems.

On the second day, more than 60 interested visitors attended the practical workshop at the Tohoku University in order to learn in detail how grayscale lithography is performed with the Heidelberg Instruments system DWL 2000.

“Grayscale lithography is the key technology for mass production of micro-optical components,” stated Steffen Diez, CSO of Heidelberg Instruments. ”The market for such components increases, due to the continuous miniaturization of devices integrated in mobile devices and new upcoming technologies like augmented reality or wearables. Heidelberg Instruments is the expert for grayscale lithography with an experience in this field for more than 20 years and we will continue our efforts to enable new applications by further improvements.“

About Heidelberg Instruments:  With an installation base of over 800 systems in more than 52 countries, Heidelberg Instruments Mikrotechnik GmbH is a world leader in production of high-precision maskless lithography systems. Due to their flexibility, these systems are used in research, development and industrial applications for direct writing and photomask production by some of the most prestigious universities and industry leaders in the areas of MEMS, BioMEMS, Nano Technology, ASICS, TFT, Plasma Displays, Micro Optics, and many other related applications.

About Micro System Integration Center, Tohoku University: The Micro System Integration Center (μSIC) works with industrial partners and other collaborators to advance the state of technology development for micro system integration, targeting practical applications in a wide variety of fields ranging from information and communications systems to manufacturing and medical technology.

For more information, please visit http://www.mu-sic.tohoku.ac.jp/index_e.html

Heidelberg Instruments GmbH

Phone: +49 6221 3430 0

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