Definition - What does Nanolithography mean?

Nanolithography is a branch of nanotechnology and the name of the process for imprinting, writing or etching patterns in a microscopic level in order to create incredibly small structures. This process is typically used for creating smaller and faster electronic devices such as micro/nanochips and processors. Nanolithography is mainly used in various sectors of technology from electronic to biomedical.

Techopedia explains Nanolithography

Nanolithography is a broad term used to describe various processes for creating nanoscale patterns on different media, the most common of which is the semiconductor material silicon. The predominant purpose of nanolithography is the shrinking of electronic devices, which allows for more electronic parts to be crammed into smaller spaces, i.e., smaller integrated circuits that result in smaller devices, which are faster and cheaper to manufacture since fewer materials are required. This also increases performance and response times because the electrons only need to travel very short distances.

Some techniques used in nanolithography are as follows:

  • X-ray lithography — Implemented through a proximity printing approach and relies on near-field X-rays in Fresnel diffraction. It is known to extend its optical resolution to 15 nm.

  • Double patterning — A method used to increase the pitch resolution of a lithographic process by printing additional patterns between spaces of already printed patterns in the same layer.

  • Electron-beam direct-write (EBDW) lithography — The most common process used in lithography, which uses a beam of electrons to create patterns.

  • Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography — A form of optical lithography that makes use of ultrashort light wavelengths of 13.5 nm.
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