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Posted: Feb 23, 2011

USHIO America, Inc., Begins Marketing Nano-Imprint VUV Ashing System "CHIPs"

(Nanowerk News) USHIO America, Inc., a leading provider of specialty and general- illumination lighting solutions as a wholly owned subsidiary of USHIO Inc., today announced that the company plans to start marketing the nano-imprint VUV (Vacuum Ultra Violet) ashing system "CHIPs (Compact HiPower System)" in the US on March 1, 2011. Incorporated into the nano-imprint lithography (NIL) equipment to be used for fabricating circuit patterns of a variety of devices including LEDs, MEMS, functional films, and biochips, the CHIPs allows non-contact and damage-free cleaning, surface improvement, and ashing of templates and workpieces.
NIL is a lithography technology that transfers a circuit pattern by directly imprinting a template (or mold) with the circuit pattern on a workpiece (a resist-coated silicon, sapphire, or film substrate). It has the advantage of being a low-cost process, allowing large-area pattern transfer, and being suitable for mass-production. NIL already has been put into practical use for fabricating circuit patterns with a line width at a micro-meter (µm) level. NIL has evolved with further research and development efforts to establish a finer-pattern process technology at a nanometer (nm) level.
Today, the NIL process faces the following challenges caused by putting a workpiece into contact with a template, and they are becoming obstacles for fabricating finer patterns as well as enhancing productivity:
Challenges for NIL:
1. Contamination of templates with resist residue
2. Increase in resist fill time and fill failures
3. Deterioration of release property between a template and a workpiece
Problems in Conventional Solutions
Wet- or dry-cleaning equipment needs to be separately installed to clean the templates used for a certain number of process cycles by removing them from the NIL equipment. This causes downtime, thus lowering the productivity. Also, the wet-cleaning equipment has some disadvantages: it has an insufficient cleaning capability, causes a risk of generating chemical residue, and requires additional processes (such as drying and waste disposal). The dry-cleaning equipment using plasma, meanwhile, has disadvantages in that it causes damage to a workpiece and requires additional components (such as a vacuum chamber).
Solutions by CHIPs
In order to meet these challenges, USHIO successfully developed its new nano-imprint VUV ashing system "CHIPs" by applying and optimizing its lighting-edge technologies to NIL to achieve non-contact and damage-free high cleaning power using VUV light. In addition, the CHIPs can be incorporated into the NIL equipment to allow a reduction of the downtime of the NIL equipment as well as automation of the NIL process — thus enhancing the productivity and yield and thereby lowering the CoO of the NIL process.
USHIO will exhibit and participate in the "SPIE Advanced Lithography 2011" conference, to be held on February 27 (Sun.) through March 3 (Thu.), 2011, at the San Jose Convention Center and San Jose Marriot (Headquarters Hotel) in San Jose, California, USA (Booth No. 428).
USHIO will strive to work on providing lighting-edge solutions for a variety of challenges in processing of finer patterns of various devices.
About USHIO AMERICA, INC.
USHIO AMERICA, INC., is a leading provider of specialty and general Illumination lighting solutions. Based in Cypress, California, and established in 1967 as a subsidiary of USHIO Inc. (Tokyo, Japan), USHIO America now carries over 3,500 general lighting and specialty products. These Lighting-Edge Technologies™ are provided for a variety of industries, such as general illumination, audio-visual, photographic, stage, studio and television, semiconductor, LED, FPD, printed-circuit board, video projection, cinema, UV curing, germicidal, horticultural, graphic arts, flashlight, scientific, medical, dental, ophthalmic, infra-red heating, and many other uses. For further information, visit www.ushio.com.
About USHIO INC.
USHIO INC. was established in 1964. The company handles a variety of lighting equipment, halogen lamps for OA, UV lamps for exposure used in semiconductor/liquid crystal display/LED manufacturing processes, high-brightness discharge lamps for data projectors and xenon lamps for movie projectors. It also enjoys a strong market share with many of its products, manufacturing and distributing various optical devices and movie projectors that incorporate its in-house lamps. The head office is located in Chiyoda Ward in Tokyo. The consolidated sales for the term ended March 2010 were 119,000,000,000 yen, and there are about 4,700 employees. For further information, visit www.ushio.co.jp.
Source: USHIO (press release)
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