SBIR Phase I: A Profilometry/Sidewall Imaging Tool for High Aspect Ratio Microstructures

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
45 Odell School Road, Suite A, Concord, NC, 28027-9712
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Shane Woody
(704) 782-0593
Business Contact:
Shane Woody
(704) 782-0593
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project addresses a novel metrology sensor to enable advanced multi-dimensional measurements of high aspect ratio structures. The current proposed work focuses on a novel methodology using nanoneedles to create a new nano-metrology sensor and extend our current feature measurement capability to include sidewall imaging of high aspect ratio microstructures ranging from 75 micrometer down to 500 nm wide and 50 to 100 micrometer deep. The demand for new and more capable microscale measurements has been driven by the increasing miniaturization of components in a wide range of products and industries including MEMS, medical implants, and many more. Existing measurement technologies are unable to meet the current and future micro-metrology needs in these industries. Specifically, they suffer several critical deficiencies 1) limited in their ability to measure deep narrow features and sidewalls 2) multiple measurement tools are required to measure form, waviness, and roughness and 3) complete inability to perform three dimensional measurements. This SBIR research proposes to dramatically reduce the size of resonance based sidewall inspection tools based around standing wave sensors. This work will address modeling of nonlinear resonators that are scaleable for nano and micro metrology and a novel nanoautomation process to enhance sensing characteristics for sensors targeted for metrology tools in the MEMS industry. The phase II program is planned as a build out phase to develop batch processes, work with early adopators in MEMS foundaries and construct a metrology inspection machine through our industrial partner. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to provide high precision metrology tools to meet increasing challenges in the MEMS and micromanufacturing production environments. Scientific advances are underway in microscale manufacturing that will greatly improve our quality of life in medical devices, fluidics, and the new generation of three dimensional electronics to name a few. However, the progress will be significantly stifled without the next advancement in quality control tools that are capable of providing traceable multi-dimensional measurements at a nanoscale level. A tool that is capable of probing inside features, measuring sidewalls and 3D structures will enable the entire industry including MEMS to have better yield, better insight and lower costs in the manufacturing process. The proposed research aims to develop and commercialize such a tool.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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