SBIR Phase II: Optical-Maskless-Lithography Equipment

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0620456
Agency Tracking Number: 0512402
Amount: $499,943.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: MI
Solicitation Number: NSF 04-604
Small Business Information
15 Ward Street, Somerville, MA, 02143
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Rajesh Menon
 (617) 253-0979
Business Contact
 Rajesh Menon
Title: Dr
Phone: (617) 253-0979
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is a major step in the development of an optical-maskless lithography technology that is capable of high resolution, high throughput, flexibility, low cost, and extendibility. Current lithography technologies suffer from the problems of high tool costs, high mask costs, and inflexibility in the case of optical-projection lithography, and high tool costs, very low throughputs, and high complexity in the case of scanning electron- beam lithography. The company's Zone-Plate-Array-Lithography (ZPAL) technology will mitigate these issues, while providing unprecedented flexibility in nanopatterning. This project covers two major thrusts: one the manufacture of zone-plate arrays containing over 1000 zone plates, each with a numerical-aperture (NA) greater than 0.85, second the development of a high-accuracy alignment sub-system that can achieve overlay accuracy of 20nm with potential extendibility below 5nm. A successful completion of the first thrust of this project will result in large arrays of high-NA zone plates installed in the prototype lithography system, enabling high resolution and high throughput. A successful implementation of the alignment sub-system in the prototype tool will meet specifications of accuracy unmatched by alternate technologies. It is widely recognized that nanostructures of complex geometries are indispensable to create functionality and enable a nanotechnology revolution. At present, the tools that are available for the creation of such nanostructures are highly limited in flexibility, resolution, cost and throughput. The tools based on ZPAL have the potential to create a new paradigm in the development and manufacture of nanostructures by sharply reducing the development-cycle time and manufacturing costs. Being maskless, this technology provides flexibility by enabling the designers of nanostructures to quickly realize their designs in hardware for prototyping and even low-volume manufacturing. The company's tools have the potential to enable industries in a wide spectrum of industries such as micro-electro-mechanical devices (MEMs), nano-electro-mechanical devices (NEMs), nano-electronics, nano-magnetics, integrated optics, photonics, biochips, microfluidics, to name a few. Initial target customers are manufacturers of application-specific-integrated circuits (ASICs), compound semiconductors and photomasks. In the ASIC industry alone, the tools have the potential to enable savings of over $3B per year. Furthermore, this technology can provide the cost-effective, flexible solution required to revive and grow this important segment of the semiconductor industry.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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