MicroWriter ML3 Baby Plus: a direct-write photolithography machine for rapid prototyping in R&D laboratories and small clean rooms.

Conventional approaches to photolithography are usually based on exposing through a chromium-glass mask manufactured by specialist vendors.  In R&D environments it is often necessary to change the mask design frequently.  Direct-write lithography tools (also known as digital mask aligners or maskless aligners) overcome this problem by holding the mask in software.  Rather than projecting light through a physical mask, direct-write lithography uses computer-controlled optics to project the exposure pattern directly onto the photoresist.

MicroWriter ML3 Baby, MicroWriter ML3 Baby Plus and MicroWriter ML3 Mesa are compact, high-performance, low-cost direct-write optical lithography machines within the MicroWriter ML family and are designed to offer unprecedented value for money in a small laboratory footprint.  Measuring only 70cm x 60cm at its base, the MicroWriter ML3 Baby Plus sits on a standard laboratory bench or desk and plugs into a supplied laptop computer.  Its only service requirement is a standard power socket.  A light-excluding enclosure with safety interlock allows it to be used equally well in an open laboratory environment or in a clean room.  Easy to use Windows® based software means most exposures can be set up and launched with just a few mouse clicks.  Two different minimum feature sizes (1µm and 5µm) can be selected automatically via software.  This allows non-critical parts of the exposure to be performed rapidly at 5µm minimum feature size while retaining high resolution writing for critical parts.   The MicroWriter ML®3 Baby Plus also features an optical surface profilometer tool and an automated wafer inspection tool for examining fabricated structures.

• 149mm x 149mm maximum writing area.
• 155mm x 155mm x 7mm maximum wafer size.
• 1µm and 5µm minimum feature sizes across full writing area.
• Automatic selection of resolution via software – no manual changing of lens required.
• 405nm long-life semiconductor lightsource suitable for broadband, g- and h-line positive and negative photoresists (e.g. S1800, ECI-3000, MiR 701). Replacement 385nm and 365nm lightsources available as option, suitable for g-, h- and i-line photoresists (e.g. SU-8).
Dual wavelength option (405nm lightsource and 365nm lightsource, software selectable) available for best performance across g-, h-, and i-line photoresists.
• XY interferometer with 15nm resolution for precise motion control.
• Fast writing speed: up to 50mm2/minute (1µm minimum feature size) and 180mm2/minute (5µm minimum feature size), allowing a typical 50mm x 50mm area combining critical and non-critical areas to be exposed in under 30 minutes.
• Autofocus system using yellow light with real-time surface tracking laser– no minimum wafer size.
• High quality infinite conjugate optical microscope camera with x3 aspheric objective lens and x10 Olympus plan objective lens and yellow light illumination for alignment to lithographic markers on the wafer (±1µm 3σ alignment accuracy).
• Automatic changing between microscope magnifications via software – no manual changing of lens required. Additional x4 digital zoom can be selected in software.
• Grey scale exposure mode for 3-dimensional patterning (255 grey levels).
• Software API for external interfacing and control.
• 60nm minimum addressable grid; 15nm sample stage resolution.
• Acceptable file formats: CIF, GDS2, BMP, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, GIF; Oasis, DXF, Gerber RS-274X acceptable via KLayout conversion.
• Automatic laser-based wafer centring tool.
• Built-in 2-dimensional optical surface profiler (200nm thickness resolution) for examining exposed resists, deposited layers, etching and other MEMS process steps.
• Automatic wafer inspection tool allowing each die on a wafer to be imaged.
• Autocalibration tool allowing users to check and correct calibration.
• 2D barcodes can be automatically generated through software for exposures. The software can then identify the developed barcode patterns and reads the contents.
• External dimensions: 700mm (w) x 700mm (d) x 750mm (h), excluding computer.
• Light-excluding enclosure with safety interlock.
• Designed for desktop use – no optical table required.
• Easy to use, Windows® based control software supplied.
• Supplied with KLayout open-source mask design software (www.klayout.de)
• Supplied with pre-configured 64-bit Windows® 10/11 PC and monitor for ‘plug and play’ installation.
• All cables supplied.
• Extremely competitively priced for University and industrial R&D budgets.
• Can be later upgraded to MicroWriter ML®3 Mesa or Pro for higher performance.
• CE-marked and compliant with EN-61010.
• 90-260 VAC, 50-60Hz, 4A single phase power requirement.