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A new electron-beam lithography capability will meet the need to fabricate future cutting-edge flight components for use in a broad spectrum of areas. A new electron-beam lithography capability will meet the need to fabricate future cutting-edge flight components for use in a broad spectrum of areas.
Photo courtesy JEOL USA.

MDL News & Trends

New Electron-Beam Lithography Capability

To meet the needs of future cutting-edge flight components, JPL has made an institutional investment in a high-resolution, advanced Electron-Beam Lithography System. This system, capable of writing on curved substrates, will replace an existing Electron-Beam Lithography System. Such systems utilize a highly focused beam of electrons to pattern resists to allow fabrication of a great number of nanostructures. The current system, with a small 4-nm spot size (degrading due to age), hardware that allows focus to be maintained into the third dimension with up to 7 mm of height variation (sag), the ability to maintain precision stitch accuracy, and the ability to control the beam to allow grey-scale patterning, has enabled a great number of technology developments at JPL, most notably the Offner and Dyson spectrometers as well as large-area coronagraphs. The aging system needs to be replaced with a more modern version that not only retains the previous capabilities, but enhances them, while still allowing the grey-scale and 3D patterning capabilities and coding developed at JPL over the last 20 years to be retained.

The new Electron-Beam Lithography System will be used in support of basic research projects, development projects, and for tasks that include flight deliverables. This use covers a broad spectrum of areas ranging from semiconductor device fabrication, semiconductor laser structures, silicon micro- and nano-machining, diffractive optics, optical detectors (UV to infrared), quantum-effect devices, and optical devices (and measurements) for interferometry, all the way to very basic studies into the physical and chemical properties and behavior of materials.

After installation and rigorous qualifications procedures, the new Electron-Beam Lithography System is expected to be operational in early 2017.

Copyright 2015 California Institute of Technology. U.S. Government sponsorship acknowledged.

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