Within nanoimprint lithography the imprinting material plays a key role setting the requirements for both the stamp as well as the substrate treatment. An important advantage of NIL is the possibility to directly structure functional materials. Therefore, in addition to the classical processing properties like viscosity, adhesion to the substrate, etc., also the tailoring of the materials properties are in the focus of materials research. However only for pattern transfer applications (reactive ion etching) or for optical application (refractive index and reflow properties) tailored materials are already commercially available. Extending the tailored property range of such imprint materials would open the field of real functional materials by combining nanostructure and chemical functionality for superior properties and applications.

From the chemical point of view commercially available imprint resists are either sophisticated pure acrylate and/or epoxy systems or inorganic-organic hybrid materials based on sol-gel chemistry. Within the hybrid inorganic-organic composites, being an emerging class of new materials that hold significant promises [1], new silicon-containing organic polymers, in particular silsesquioxanes (SSQ), have generated a great deal of interest. It has been shown that these materials can be used in nanoimprint lithography [2], [3], [4] for the fabrication of stamps or as an excellent etch-resistant material. SSQs offer unique possibilities to tailor physical, chemical, and SSQ-size-dependant properties that cannot be realized with previously known materials alone. Within NILmaterials primarly this silicon containing material class will be explored for materials for nanoimprint lithography targeting several novel applications. One application targeted, are at least two new classes of new and novel materials e.g. used for stamps. The first material class will exhibit the highly anti-adhesive properties as intrinsic material property and will be used e.g. for working stamps in UV-based nanoimprint lithography. The second material class is intended to be used as nano-contactprinting stamp material, including ion-exchange and ion-pairing functionalities as molecular transfer mechanism. This will overcome a variety of problems of the currently used polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) materials, and will open micro- and nano-contact printing also to charged species. This will open a wide field within the study of interactions in cells at sub-micron lateral resolutions by nano-contact printed patterns.

In addition NILmaterials addresses the needs of nanoimprint materials originating from other NILaustria projects. NILmaterials will strongly interact all NILaustria projects with e.g. NILstampreplication II to which newly designed materials will be delivered and tested therein.


[1]  G. Kickelbick et al., Chem. Mater., 2002, 14, 4382

[2]  G. Kickelbick et al., J. Chem. Soc., Dalton Trans., 2002, 3892

[3]  D. Holzinger et al., J. Polym. Sci.: Part A: Polym. Chem., 2002, 40, 3858

[4]  D. Holzinger et al., Chem. Mater., 2003, 15, 4944