Molecular dynamics study on the effects of stamp shape, adhesive energy, and temperature on the nanoimprint lithography process

JH Kang and KS Kim and KW Kim, APPLIED SURFACE SCIENCE, 257, 1562-1572 (2010).

DOI: 10.1016/j.apsusc.2010.08.096

Molecular dynamics simulations of nanoimprint lithography (NIL) were performed to investigate the effects of three critical process parameters in NIL: stamp shape, adhesive energy between the stamp and polymer film, and imprint temperature. The proposed simulation model of the NIL process consists of an amorphous SiO(2) stamp with a line pattern, an amorphous poly(methylmethacrylate) film, and a Si substrate under the periodic boundary condition in the horizontal direction to simulate a real NIL process imprinting periodical line patterns. The behavior of polymer deformation and the effects of adhesion on pattern transfer were investigated by observing the deformation process, calculating the imprint and separation forces, and analyzing the density and stress distribution inside the polymer film. In addition, their dependency on the process parameters is also discussed with reference to the changes in pattern shape, adhesive energy between the stamp and polymer atoms, and imprint temperature of the polymer film. During the imprint process, the rectangular pattern shows inferior cavity filling and higher stress concentration compared to trapezoidal and triangular patterns because it requires much larger flow and deformation of the polymer film. Low imprint temperature also produces high stress concentration and large imprint force due to the lower fluidity of polymer film. In the separation process, the rectangular pattern generates the largest separation force and causes the most serious defects of the transferred pattern and even the polymer film, while the triangular pattern shows the most satisfactory pattern transfer. In addition, the adhesive energy between the stamp and the polymer film also strongly influences the adhesion between the stamp and the polymer film. Low adhesive energy reduces the separation force of the stamp and transferred pattern defects, and therefore enhances the quality of pattern transfer. (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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