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Posted: July 23, 2009

New mass-production nanoimprinter for the manufacture of advanced electronic components and nanostructures

(Nanowerk News) Singapore precision equipment manufacturer Solves Innovative Technology Pte Ltd, together with A*STAR’s Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) and Data Storage Institute (DSI), has built a machine capable of producing nanometer-size components and in wafer-scale volumes, for a host of applications in consumer electronics such as hard disk media and optical storage media.
IMRE’s nanoimprint lithography and DSI’s hard disk media technologies were licensed to Solves Innovative Technology to design a production-grade nanoimprint system for the manufacturing of patterned media for hard disk drives. The prototype significantly improves conventional nanoimprinting processes with its new features such as double-sided imprinting to reduce processing time; a customised dosing system; and imprinting in vacuum to prevent air bubbles, for more accurate patterning.
This system makes use of IMRE’s technology in nanoimprint lithography to create a process for making complex, 3-dimensional nanometer structures. The system also utilises a joint DSI-Solves invention that spreads the resist on the substrates. A patent is also being filed for another technology which is related to dosing resist.
Said Mr Koh Teng Hwee, Managing Director of Solves Innovative Technology, “The collaboration with IMRE and DSI accelerated the development of this tool without having to start from scratch. The nanoimprint and recording media research expertise of IMRE and DSI had significantly facilitated the design of the prototype. We were also able to tap on IMRE’s advanced measurement and characterisation equipment that we might otherwise have to buy.”
A researcher from IMRE was seconded to the company to facilitate the technology transfer, while a DSI research engineer worked on-site to help implement the technology. The A*STAR know-how and patent will enable the company to compete internationally in patterned media manufacturing.
“Nanoimprint lithography is no longer just an R&D tool but is increasingly finding a niche in manufacturing due to higher output, greater accuracy patterning, and lower cost. We are glad that our expertise has helped Solves Innovative Technology to accelerate their entry into this technology”, said Dr Low Hong Yee, the Research Scientist who is leading the nanoimprint lithography effort in IMRE.
“Patterned media technology is an important approach to produce high capacity hard disk drives. We are delighted that Solves Innovative Technology could apply DSI's know-how in patterned media to develop a low cost and high throughput machine in such a rapid manner. This machine will be a boost for the hard disk media industry”, said Dr. S.N. Piramanayagam, the Senior Scientist who is leading the patterned media effort in DSI.
“The success of this collaboration is a testament to the quality of the basic research work and how even at that level of research there are opportunities for applications in industry”, said Professor Chong Tow Chong, Executive Director of A*STAR’s Science and Engineering Research Council, which oversees IMRE and DSI.
Solves Innovative Technology is currently in talks with a major multinational media manufacturer to implement the system locally.
About the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE)
Established in September 1997, IMRE has built strong capabilities in materials analysis, characterisation, materials growth, patterning, fabrication, synthesis and integration. IMRE is an institute of talented researchers equipped with state-of-the-art facilities such as the SERC Nanofabrication and Characterisation Facility to conduct world-class materials science research. Leveraging on these capabilities, R&D programs have been established in collaboration with industry partners. These include research on organic solar cells, nanocomposites, flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), solid-state lighting, nanoimprinting, microfluidics and next generation atomic scale interconnect technology.
About Data Storage Institute
The Data Storage Institute (DSI) is a member of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Established in 1992 as the Magnetics Technology Centre (MTC), it was renamed Data Storage Institute in 1996. The research institute's vision is to be a vital node in a global community of knowledge generation and innovation, nurturing research talents and capabilities for world-class R&D in next generation storage technologies. DSI is a member of the non-profit Information Storage Industry Consortium (INSIC) of USA.
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is the lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and development in Biomedical Sciences, and Physical Sciences and Engineering, and supports Singapore's key economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to our partners in industry and the healthcare sector. A*STAR oversees 23 research institutes, consortia and centres located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, and the area in their vicinity, and supports extramural research with the universities, hospital research centres, and other local and international partners.
About Solves Innovative Technology Pte Ltd
Solves Innovative Technology Pte Ltd is a machine design and build company dealing with high density (HD) media manufacturing equipment. Setting itself apart from many companies that produce totally new proprietary systems, Solves believes in learning from experiences to build more effective tools. Its core business, as the company name implies, involves solving existing machine problems and adding manufacturing enhancements through continuous improvement. Problem-solving is at the heart of what we do and was the rationale for the foundation of the company. Over the years, Solves has successfully implemented customized solutions for rectifying problems and enhanced the performance of major manufacturing machines. This has led to the patenting of several original concepts.
Source: A*STAR
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