The Roll-to-Roll Method
Roll-to-Roll is a popular method for volume fabrication on flexible materials; metal, paper, polymers, which include thin glass.
Traditionally nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is derived from a quartz or glass wafer plate-against-plate process technology.
At Stensborg, we have developed our own unique and patented nip moulding process (HoloPrint®), designed for nanoimprinting on transparent as well as opaque materials. This approach works to avoid costly and undesirable web coatings.
The Roll-to-Roll machine typically employing several rollers, has various coating techniques; dip coating, knife-over-edge coating, slot-die coating, direct- and micro-gravure coating, inkjet and spray coating.
The advantages of Stensborg’s Roll-to-Roll NIL:
In-line partial register nanoimprinting.
High-cost savings due to a partial layout of an active nanoimprint area.
Reduced manufacturing process due to a high yield.
Agile technology; sustaining pressure uniformity and successful demolding in large-size imprinting areas.
Positive environmental impact due to the speed of production and less energy consumption.
The benefits listed above are exclusive to Stensborg’s Roll-to-Roll NIL offering.
Stensborg’s Solutions to Roll-to-Roll vs Roll-to-Plate
The Roll-to-Roll process we offer is fast and scalable. Our Roll-to-Roll machines routinely produce nanoimprints at speeds of up to 50 meters per minute. Due to this scalability, our R2R NIL process is cost-effective. The challenges can be a higher initial setup and complexities when running multiple processes.
The Roll-to-Plate process we offer is better suited for the production of non-flexible substrates, e.g. glass and quartz. It is a prefered method for multiprocessing steps that might involve vacuum sputtering or other process requirements that can not be integrated into the R2R setup we provide.
It is also a preferred method for prototyping optical masters, e.g. the Stensborg uniA6 DT nanoimprinter, as our solution allows the production of smaller quantities, lowering the time consumption while minimising waste.