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Princeton engineers develop low-cost recipe for patterning microchips
Date:9/2/2007

lity of the technique to create gratings over several square centimeters, and the patterning of much large areas should be possible with further optimization of the technique.

Its remarkable and counterintuitive that fracturing creates these regular patterns, said chemical engineering professor and dean of Princetons graduate school William Russel. Russel and his graduate student Leonard Pease III teamed with Chou and his graduate students Paru Deshpande and Ying Wang to develop the technique.

A patent application has been filed on the process, which the researchers say is economically feasible for large-scale use in industry. The gratings generated by the fracturing process also could be used in conjunction with existing patterning methods. For example, the nanoimprinting method invented by Chou in the 1990s can use the gratings generated by fracture-induced structuring to create a mold that enables mass duplication of patterns with high precision at low cost.

As with many scientific discoveries, the fracture-induced structuring process was happened upon accidentally. Graduate students in the Chou and Russel groups were trying to use instabilities in various molten polymers (in essence, melted plastic) to create patterns when they discovered instead that fracturing a solid polymer film can generate the gratings automatically. The team seized upon this finding and established the optimal conditions for grating formation.

Next, the group plans to explore the fundamental science behind the process and investigate the interplays of various forces at such a small scale, according to Chou.

And, we want to push the limit and see how small we can go, he said.


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Contact: Hilary Parker
haparker@princeton.edu
609-258-4597
Princeton University, Engineering School
Source:Eurekalert

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