Design is an essential part of everything that we interact and engage with. Whether it is the clothing we wear, the smartphones we use, or the cars we drive, they have all been carefully designed to maximise user experience and improve their functionality.
However, while the end-user design is essential, you also need to consider how you will be creating the products. When it comes to nano imprint lithography (NIL), one of the most critical considerations in the design is the angles you are using.
The importance of the right angles
Opting for a perfect 90-degree angle makes it difficult to nano imprint as the release angle is zero. Having your master template incorporate even 1 or 2-degree release angles, will mean a world of difference in avoiding a highly challenging situation separating the parts without damaging the imprint and/or the template master.
This is also a critical consideration if you are seeking roll-based nano imprint lithography. This production option is a swift and efficient manufacturing process, and quick-release of the imprinted parts is essential to a smooth run.
These diagrams show the principle of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ angles in the nano imprint design and manufacturing process:
Negative angles make the release of the imprint impossible due to its positioning locked within the template.
90-degree angles make the release very difficult and, on release, may cause damage to the imprint or the template master.
Positive angles, less than 90 degrees, make the release possible and do not risk damage to the imprint or the template master.
The sample below shows an example of suitable angles created using the uni A6 HoloPrint® Desktop unit; Stensborg’s innovative solution to nano imprint lithography:
Dimensions of the above structure = Coating thickness estimated: 17 micrometres | Structure height: 5 micrometres | Structure width: 1.5 micrometres | Gap between structures: 1.25 micrometres.
Opting for a design that is just a few degrees less than 90-degrees can transform your production and significantly reduce costs. A famous example of this is the vast amounts of time and effort Steve Jobs and his team put into trying to perfect the manufacturing of the NeXT Computer. Dedicated to creating a computer that was a mathematically perfect cube, the company wasted huge sums in design and manufacturing when just a minor change to the angles could have saved considerable amounts.
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For over twenty years, Stensborg has been providing expert nano imprint lithography solutions. Utilising the very latest equipment and our years of experience, we pride ourselves on delivering the very best optical design and volume production for our clients.
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