FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The word Morpho in our company’s name comes from the beautiful Morpho butterflies that live in the tropical forests of Latin America. Their vivid, iridescent blue coloring is the result of the microscopic scales on the backs of their wings reflecting light. At Morphotonics we create similar optical (photonic) structures.
Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) is a method of fabricating nanometer-scale patterns. It is a simple nanolithography process with low cost, high throughput, and high resolution. It creates patterns by mechanical deformation of imprint resist by a master texture (mold of stamp) and subsequent solidification processes. The imprint resist is typically a monomer or polymer formulation that is cured by heat or UV light during the imprinting. Adhesion between the resist and the template is controlled to allow proper release. (Wikipedia)
Morphotonics has developed a proprietary R2P nanoimprint technology, which is flexible and can be used for pilot- and mass production.
Morphotonics uses a roll, to press the texture stamp on the UV curable resin present on a discrete substrate.
The substrate can be a rigid wafer or glass plate or a flexible foil.
The technology is cost-effective with a focus on extremely-large-area nanoimprinting and opens a wide new range of product applications.
Morphotonics is an OEM supplier of equipment & consumables such as flexible stamps and UV-imprint materials for micro- and nanoimprinting of large-area substrates and devices.
Through our competence center, we provide samples and prototypes along with providing customer support.
Morphotonics has two types of Roll-to-Plate (R2P) NIL Platform products:
- PORTIS Roll-to-Plate (R2P) NIL platform is ideal for R&D, process development, and pilot production. It combines ultimate flexibility with small-scale production and is comprised of the Imprinter, Coater, and Primer (built upon request) modules.
- AURORA is a fully integrated, state-of-the-art Roll-to-Plate (R2P) NIL production line that is ideal for high-volume production. With primer application, imprinting, and post-curing modules built-in, it provides dedicated and cost-effective mass manufacturing capability. Aurora is proven for volume production for the display market, running 24/7 at a customer site in Asia.
Here is a summary of the products currently available for sale within the Portis and Aurora platforms:
Morphotonics’ Roll-to-Plate (R2P) NIL technology is application and product agnostic.
That said, our primary focus is Display applications along with a large and varied number of non-Display applications as well.
Morphotonics’ Roll-to-Plate (R2P) NIL is complementary to other methods such as Roll-to-Roll (R2R) and wafer-based NIL approaches.
The sweet spot for the Roll-to-Plate (R2P) technology is products that demand high imprint quality on rigid surfaces with the added benefit of cost-effective replication at high throughput.
Given the focus around nanoimprinting on extremely-large-areas such as GEN5 display size (1.1 x 1.3m) and with the proven ability to reuse the same sub-master (flexible stamp) up to 1000 times, R2P NIL can have a significant scaling advantage.
Within one imprint cycle, we can replicate multiple products on one large substrate or multiple smaller substrates placed in a carrier.
Structures with dimensions from 500 micrometers down to 50 nanometers (or even lower) can be imprinted with the Morphotonics technology. Structures can be random or periodic, i.e.: pyramids, cones, lenses, lenticulars, fresnel lenses, prisms, one dimensional & two-dimensional gratings.
What are the Roll-to-Plate (R2P) NIL process steps from mastering to nanoimprinting owned by Morphotonics?
Morphotonics is primarily an equipment company.
However, to support our Roll-to-Plate (R2P) NIL equipment sales, we help our customers through all the stages (‘from lab-to-fab’) to successfully manufacture products using our equipment.
Although we are not a mastering company, we have a network of partners who can originate (Master) many custom textures based on customer requirements.
From a single Master, Morphotonics can replicate many one-to-one or scaled-up sub-masters (‘Flexible Stamp’ as we call them), which can be used many times to imprint products.
Our most preferred master materials are Silicon (including SiO2, Si3N4) glass, quartz, fused silica, Ni (including compounds nickel–phosphorus), (stainless) steel. Polymer masters are also possible but are usually more susceptible to damage. Materials such as PMMA have been successfully used in the past as well. Rigid masters are preferred over film sheets for imprint layer thickness homogeneity reasons.
Ideal thickness is 0.5 mm to 10 mm with a non-textured area (preferably > 10 mm) around the texture. Thinner masters might compromise replication quality.
We do replicate our flexible stamps from a master provided by either our customer or one of our mastering partners. Typically, we can replicate 100 flexible stamps from a master (proven). Each flexible stamp can then be used 500 to 1000 times (depending on the structure). Hence, from one single master, we can imprint up to 100 x 1000 products.
The flexible stamp is critical in the nanoimprinting process. It contains the structure and is therefore essential for the quality of your product.
At Morphotonics, we produce flexible stamps following the highest standards and based on the requirements of each application. We can customize our flexible stamps based on the dimensional stability needs of the application and we can add edge control lines and alignment markers as required.
Morphotonics develops and supplies its UV imprint materials based on long-standing know-how.
Our UV imprint materials can either be used as a permanent or sacrificial layer (etch resist), that can vary from hard coatings to resins with a low shrinkage to resins with higher Refractive Indices.
We do however only use solvent-free resins, differing from the wafer-based NIL methods. We have an active resin development program and continuously study different components and resin formulations since the UV imprint material properties have a defining impact on the imprinted product quality and durability.
Different coating technologies can be used to apply the resin on the substrate. Morphotonics’ primary focus is on jet-technology given its precision & reproducibility in volume manufacturing while having the ability to apply a wide viscosity range.
We developed a dedicated jet-coater shown in our recently announced Portis1100 Roll-to-Plate (R2P) NIL equipment .