Nanolithography is the branch of nanotechnology concerned with the study and application of fabricating nanometer-scale structures, meaning patterns with at least one lateral dimension between 1 and 100 nm. Different approaches can be categorized in serial or parallel, mask or maskless/direct-write, top-down or bottom-up, beam or tip-based, resist-based or resist-less methods. As of 2015, nanolithography is a very active area of research in academia and in industry. Applications of nanolithography include among others: Multigate devices such as Field effect transistors (FET), Quantum dots, Nanowires, Gratings, Zone plates and Photomasks, nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS), or semiconductor integrated circuits (nanocircuitry).

Optical lithography

Main article: Photolithography

Optical lithography, which has been the predominant patterning technique since the advent of the semiconductor age, is capable of producing sub-100-nm patterns with the use of very short optical wavelengths. Several optical lithography techniques require the use of liquid immersion and a host of resolution enhancement technologies like phase-shift masks (PSM) and optical proximity correction (OPC). Multiple patterning is a method of increasing the resolution by printing features in between pre-printed features on the same layer by etching or creating sidewall spacers, and has been used in commercial production of microprocessors since the 32 nm process node e.g. by directed self-assembly (DSA). Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) uses ultrashort wavelengths (13.5 nm) and as of 2015, is the most popularly considered Next-generation lithography (NGL) technique for mass-fabrication.[1]

Electron-beam lithography

Electron beam lithography or Electron-Beam Direct-Write Lithography (EBDW) scans a focused beam of electrons on a surface covered with an electron-sensitive film or resist (e.g. PMMA or HSQ) to draw custom shapes. By changing the solubility of the resist and subsequent selective removal of material by immersion in a solvent, sub-10 nm resolutions have been achieved. This form of direct-write, maskless lithography has high resolution and low throughput, limiting single-column e-beams to photomask fabrication, low-volume production of semiconductor devices, and research&development. Multiple-electron beam approaches have as a goal an increase of throughput for semiconductor mass-production.

Nanoimprint lithography

Nanoimprint lithography (NIL), and its variants, such as Step-and-Flash Imprint Lithography, LISA and LADI are promising nanopattern replication technologies where patterns are created by mechanical deformation of imprint resist, typically a monomer or polymer formulation that is cured by heat or UV light during imprinting. This technique can be combined with contact printing and cold welding.

Multiphoton lithography

Multiphoton lithography (also known as direct laser lithography or direct laser writing) patterns surfaces without the use of a photomask, whereby two-photon absorption is utilized to induce a change in the solubility of the resist.

Scanning probe lithography

Scanning probe lithography (SPL) is a tool for patterning at the nanometer-scale down to individual atoms using scanning probes. Dip-pen nanolithography is an additive, diffusive method, thermochemical nanolithography triggers chemical reactions, thermal scanning probe lithography creates 3D surfaces from polymers, and local oxidation nanolithography employs a local oxidation reaction for patterning purposes.

Other techniques


  1. "ASML: Press - Press Releases - ASML reaches agreement for delivery of minimum of 15 EUV lithography systems". Retrieved 2015-05-11.
  2. Sundrani D, Darling SB, Sibener SJ (June 2004). "Hierarchical assembly and compliance of aligned nanoscale polymer cylinders in confinement" (PDF). Langmuir. 20 (12): 5091–9. doi:10.1021/la036123p. PMID 15984272.
  3. T.W.H. Oates; A. Keller; S. Facsko; A. Muecklich (2007). "Aligned silver nanoparticles on rippled silicon templates exhibiting anisotropic plasmon absorption". Plasmonics. 2 (2): 47–50. doi:10.1007/s11468-007-9025-z.
  4. Alexander S. Urban, Andrey A. Lutich, Fenando D. Stefani, and Jochen Feldmann, "Laser Printing Single Gold Nanoparticles", Nano Letters, VOL. 10, NO. 12, OCTOBER 2010
  5. Spas Nedev, Alexander S. Urban, Andrey A. Lutich, and Jochen Feldmann, "Optical Force Stamping Lithography", Nano Letters, VOL. 11, NO. 11, OCTOBER 2011
  6. A. Hatzor-de Picciotto, A. D. Wissner-Gross, G. Lavallee, P. S. Weiss (2007). "Arrays of Cu(2+)-complexed organic clusters grown on gold nano dots" (PDF). Journal of Experimental Nanoscience. 2: 3–11. Bibcode:2007JENan...2....3P. doi:10.1080/17458080600925807.
  7. Dhara Parikh, Barry Craver, Hatem N. Nounu, Fu-On Fong, and John C. Wolfe, "Nanoscale Pattern Definition on Nonplanar Surfaces Using Ion Beam Proximity Lithography and Conformal Plasma-Deposited Resist", Journal of Microelectromechanical Systems, VOL. 17, NO. 3, JUNE 2008
  8. J C Wolfe and B P Craver, "Neutral particle lithography: a simple solution to charge-related artefacts in ion beam proximity printing", J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 41 (2008) 024007 (12pp)

External links

Nanotechnology at DMOZ

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