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Piezo Actuators for Nanoimprint Lithography

August 5, 2019

"An imprinting machine needs a precise pressing mechanism with high requirements on mechanical stiffness, uniformity, and homogeneity over large area" (Kristensen and Schift). Consequently, nanoimprint lithography (NIL) may be an exciting opportunity for piezoelectric actuators. Nanoimprint lithography generally includes precision resin deposition, precise feature transfer through pressure (imprinting), and curing of the resin system. It may also incorporate other nano-level processes (Canon Global; Encyclopedia Wikipedia; Lapedus; Tech Briefs). Flexure-guided mechanically-amplified piezoelectric actuators may provide a direct production role as the production process may involve extreme environments (thermal, vacuum, or vibration).

An article from Semiconductor Engineering (Lapedus) states

"Canon, EV Group, Nanonex, Suss and others continue to develop and ship NIL systems for a range of markets. NIL is different than conventional lithography and resembles a stamping process. Initially, a lithographic system forms a pattern on a template based on a pre-defined design. Then, a separate substrate is coated with a resist. Like a stamping process, the patterned template is pressed against the substrate, forming a pattern on the substrate at feature sizes down to 5nm and beyond.”

Nanoimprint technology produces nanometer level features on the desired wafer or other type of production substrate. The dependency on precision feature transfer (stamping) actions with accuracy or resolution at the nanometer level suggests a role for precision amplified piezoelectric actuators.

Nanoimprint Lithography by Canon Global
(Canon Global)


Actuate and align your imprint applications using Dynamic Structures & Materials’ high stiffness and fast response piezoelectric actuators. Consider DSM’s FPA550EHK (500+ microns with Extra High Stiffness (K))or call an engineer to create a customized actuator today.

Precision Nanoimprinting in Vacuum Environments?

Piezoelectric actuators have a proven record of producing nanometer level movement and position repeatability in ultrahigh vacuum environments.  Avoiding the use of lubricants,magnetic materials and sliding surfaces, flexure-based piezoelectric actuators may provide significant stamping displacements and forces in ultrahigh vacuum compatible configurations.

Operating Temperatures at 200 °C

With the correct selection of piezoceramic formulation, temperature specifications to >200 C may be achieved.  Applications in dispensing of engine fuels (fuel injectors) are some of the most significant high temperature applications for piezoelectric stack actuators.  Additional industrial applications include precision fluid regulation in semiconductor production, precision dispensing of industrial process fluids, precision adjustment/alignment in bearing machining operations. 

Can Piezo Actuators Meet Precision and Force Requirements?

Many DSM amplified piezoelectric actuators are specially designed to have high force and stiffness characteristics. The high feature transfer forces required for NIL may be subsequently obtained using piezoelectric actuators with relatively high stiffness values.

Learn more about the high stiffness and force of piezoelectric actuators in a compact envelope only available from Dynamic Structures and Materials.


  1. Canon Global. Nanoimprint Lithography. N.d. Web. 22 July 2019.
  2. Encyclopedia, Wikipedia: The Free. Nanoimprint Lithography. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., n.d. Web. July 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanoimprint_lithography
  3. Kristensen, Anders and Helmut Schift. "Nanoimprint Lithography – Patterning of Resists Using Molding." Springer Handbook of Nanotechnology. Springer. http://home.ufam.edu.br/berti/nanomateriais/Nanoimprint%20Lithography%20%E2%80%93%20Patterning%20of%20Resists%20Using%20Molding.pdf
  4. Lapedus, Mark. What Happened To Nanoimprint Litho? 29 March 2018. Web. https://semiengineering.com/what-happened-to-nanoimprint-litho
  5. Levinson, H. J. Principles of Lithography, Second Edition. Bellingham, WA: SPIE Press, 2005.
  6. NIL Technology. Nanoimprint Lithography. N.d. Web. 22 July 2019. https://www.nilt.com/solutions/lithography-processing-services/nanoimprint-lithography/
  7. Tech Briefs. N.d. July 2019.

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