DNP Develops Splicing Technology to Connect Multiple Nanoimprint Templates without Level Differences and with High Precision

Global first will facilitate mass production of scaled-up components

Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP) has developed an innovative splicing technology that allows for the high precision connection of multiple nanoimprint templates, and which will facilitate the mass production of scaled-up components.

It is believed that this latest development marks yet another global first for the Company, which has also been achieved in answer to strong demand from companies from a variety of industries.

Nanoimprinting is a micro-machining processing technology that takes materials, such as resin, formed on a substrate then seals them with a mold while still soft, before hardening to produce nanometer (10-9 meter) to micro-meter (10-6 meter) level patterns in a stable manner.

DNP has offered DNP Nanoimprint Solutions since April 2015, as the first one-stop response in the industry for companies looking for a total package of services from template design, through prototype production to mass production systems.

Looking ahead, the Company will take advantage of the newly developed technology in the high precision micro-patterning of scaled-up templates.

[Background]

We are seeing the increased adoption of ultra-micro structures with the objective of providing new functionality and improving performance in display and optical product components, as well as with energy- and life science-related components. There are also increased demands for large-area nano-level nanoimprints that will allow for an expansion in applicable products.  

To date, ultra micro-processing with dozens of nanometer-scale patterns has been limited to photomasks for semiconductors in sizes of approximately 15cm2, and in order to scale-up to bigger sizes it has been necessary to splice templates together. This, however, has produced the challenge of an uneven joint between the spliced sections, and even where it has been possible to limit the difference in surface level to several dozen of nm, problems have arisen as the difference in level has had an adverse impact on lithography resist imprints, making it difficult to employ this technology in production.

In order to overcome this challenge, DNP has forged ahead with the development of high precisions splicing technology that does not produce a difference in level when connecting separate templates, and by calling on an innovative technology has successfully done away with the difference in level. As a result, it is now possible to produce ultra-micro structure scaled-up templates, and mass produce components, both of which have been in strong demand from numerous companies in a variety of industries.

Cross section photograph of template.
At left, a template exhibiting a level difference between the spliced templates.
At right, the spliced templates without a level difference between them, produced with DNP innovative technology

[High Precision Splicing Technology]

In this latest development, DNP has applied materials technology, processing technology and equipment technology developed using nano-level imprints, including photomasks and nanoimprint lithography (NIL) for semi-conductors , and the ultra-low reflective film to develop a high precision splicing technology for templates with dozens of nm scale ultra-fine indentations.

By using this technology that does away with the level difference of several tens of nm between the spliced portions of the templates, it is now possible to scale-up to large templates with micro-patterning equivalent to photomasks or NIL templates. This new technology is also expected to offer a solution to the problems that have arisen from the adverse impact of the level difference generated with large templates employing lithography resist imprints.

[Looking Ahead]

The newly developed high precision splicing technology can be applied to a variety of components beginning with display components that demand ultra-fine structure patterning.

For example, by providing ultra-fine indentation patterning, it becomes possible to offer functional film that allows for the control of light direction and its strength. And by applying this splicing technology to the manufacturing process of the functional film, positive effects, such as improved productivity are also foreseen compared to currently employed techniques.

Furthermore, by facilitating mass production of scaled-up components, this new technology will lead to the realization of energy saving large displays, and the conservation of the global environment. Significant positive effects from the configuring of large ultra-fine structures are also possible, and based on this newly developed technology DNP will push ahead with the adoption of facilities capable of accommodating scaled-up templates.

The Company will focus efforts on sales of the new product and DNP Nanoimprint Solutions, aiming for sales of a total of 60 billion yen in the three fiscal years from 2018 to 2020.

* Product prices, specification and service contents mentioned in this news release are current as of the date of publication. They may be changed at any time without notice.