Nanoimprint lithography featuring line widths of only 16 nm and a line
spacing of 14 nm has been achieved by scientists at Princeton University.
Sustaining this delicate work of fine patterning and fabrication, furthermore,
was sustained across the face of 4-inch wafer.
One way to increase the density of storable data or computing power
of microchips is of course to shrink the circuitry, but new difficulties
arise when the size or spacing of lines gets too small. Getting below
a 35-nm pitch, for example, is difficult when using an electron beam
to do the lithography.
Therefore the Princeton researchers used "photocurable nanoimprint
lithography" (P-NIL), a process in which a mold is pressed into a resist
medium which is then cured with ultraviolet rays. After this the resist
is etched away, leaving behind thin 5-nm-wide polymer walls. Gold contacts
5 nm apart can also be fabricated. (Austin
et al., Applied Physics Letters, 28 June 2004)