Fabricating Gold Electrodes on Flexible Polyimide Films: A Comprehensive Guide

Polyimide films are a popular choice for flexible electronic applications due to their remarkable properties. These films exhibit excellent thermal stability, mechanical strength, and chemical resistance, making them ideal for use in harsh environments. In addition, their inherent flexibility allows for the design of lightweight and compact devices that can easily conform to various shapes.

Key Steps in Fabricating Molds for Microfluidic Devices

Microfluidic devices are becoming more popular because of their ability to precisely manipulate small quantities of fluids through narrow channels, which is beneficial in a range of applications and scientific fields, including biology, chemistry, and medicine. Most microfluidic devices rely on standard photolithography as a microfabrication technique to pattern substrates and process photoresists for the electronics industry. However, soft lithography is a complementary addition to photolithography that can process various materials, such as gels and polymers.

A Quick Guide to SU-8 Photolithography

SU-8 photolithography is a widely used microfabrication technique that uses a photosensitive negative epoxy called SU-8. The SU-8 is used to create micro and nanoscale patterns on a substrate’s surface, microstructures, and coatings for various applications. It is a popular choice because of its stable chemical, mechanical and thermal characteristics. SU-8 photolithography plays an important role in manufacturing microfluidics and microelectromechanical system components. This blog post will look at the procedure, applications, and instruments used for SU-8 photolithography.

Using Photolithography to Pattern Metal Surfaces

Many life sciences applications benefit from photolithography, a method of microfabricating materials, because of its low-cost, efficient process. A substrate is covered with a photoresist and exposed to light to remove specific areas, leaving a patterned image behind. This blog post will look at why photolithography is used to pattern metal surfaces and the benefits it provides.

How Photolithography Factors into Semiconductor Manufacturing

Photolithography is the pioneering technique used to generate functional patterns on various substrates. Precision microfabrication often occurs at scales and levels of throughput that conventional machining paradigms cannot achieve. No mechanical tools can etch microelectronics for complex devices like integrated circuits, optical components, and bio-sensors. Photolithography, meanwhile, is perfectly suited to the task. 

Photolithography & Adhesion 

A common problem that can occur during photolithography fabrication is adhesion of the photoresist to the substrate. A photoresist consists of a resin, sensitizer, adhesion promoter, and a thinner. Each component contributes to the overall photoresist properties. A resin is included to withstand an etchant solution that may be used in the later stages of fabrication. A sensitizer offers a photosensitive element to the resist that allows it to be exposed in certain areas and not in others. A thinner is included to modify the viscosity of the overall photoresist and make it easier to spin-coat onto the substrate. The included adhesion promoter is often not potent enough to provide enough strength between resist and substrate material.  

Emerging Technologies – Internet-of-Things

Internet of things (IoT) encompasses physical things that connect and exchange data with other technology. IoT offers increased connectivity, cloud computing, machine learning, and advancements to AI. Emerging advancements in IoT include machine monitoring, wearable health monitoring, inventory management, and public safety enhancements. IoT works through device-to-device communications that is conducted through sensor technology and actuators.  

What is a Cleanroom?

You might be thinking a cleanroom refers to an organized and tidy space. However, a certified cleanroom is much more than that. A cleanroom is a space for conducting operations that are sensitive the particle contamination, such as semiconductor fabrication. Enviornmental factors are altered in order to provide a controlled clean atmosphere. Airborne particles are filtered out while temperature, humidity, and air flow are regulated.  

Creating patterns through Metal Lift-off

Creating a patterned metal on a substrate can be done through various methods. Metal lift-off represents just one fabrication method that entails three steps: 1) patterning a photosensitive polymer film onto the target substrate, 2) metal deposition onto the patterns polymer film, and 3) removal of polymer with a solvent.  

Advantages and Disadvantages of Photolithography

Photolithography, also known as optical lithography, is a microfabrication technique that uses light to produce precisely patterned thin films over substrates such as silicon wafers. These patterned films typically protect selected areas of the underlying substrate during subsequent processing, such as etching or metal deposition.

An Overview of the Photolithography Process

Photolithography is a fabrication process used in the production of patterned thin films for precision applications such as microelectronics, biosensors, and custom patterned electrodes. The process utilizes ultraviolet (UV) light to expose a minutely detailed pattern within a light-sensitive photoresist coating.

The coating is deposited on a substrate material and a mask is placed atop the photoresist. UV light therefore interacts only with the areas of the photoresist that are left exposed underneath the mask. Once the mask is removed, a precise geometric pattern remains on the substrate surface, formed via exposure to the UV light.

Using Photolithography for Surface Patterning

What is Photolithography?

Photolithography, sometimes known as optical lithography or UV lithography is a process that is used in microfabrication for surface patterning parts of a thin film or the bulk of a substrate. Photolithography uses light to transfer a geometric pattern from a photomask to a light-sensitive chemical photoresist or simply resist on the substrate.

Masking & Micro-patterning

Micro-patterning is commonly done through masking. Creating a photomask involves important specifications that can directly affect a resulting pattern transfer. Mask material, environmental conditions, and type of resist should be considered. But prior to processing, photomask design characteristics must be determined.  

Photolithography based Lift-off

Lift-off is often conducted following a series of photolithography steps that create a photoresist layer onto a substrate. Chemical and metal lift-off methods are used to create distinctive patterns onto a surface. Both types of lift-offs can be time consuming compared to wet etching, however lift-off is a safer method that offers lower production costs and enhanced processing capabilities.