Surface structure is one of the key-factor beside the intrinsic bulk material property strongly influencing the possible use and properties of products. With the ongoing developments in (nano)structuring technologies new and tailor made surface properties based upon such surface structures enhance products and open new product properties and highly value added products. While a variety of technologies is available for micro- and sub-microstructuring of soft materials organic polymers is available, the templated sub-micro- and nanostructuring of hard materials like ceramics is currently very limited.

Ceramic Injection Molding (CIM) is a widely used technology for high volume fabrication of complex ceramic parts [1]. Increasing interest and application of micro- and nanostructured surfaces of engineered parts demands new technologies or combination of technologies. A combination of nanoimprint lithography (NIL) and CIM could enable these requests [2].


The NILcim project offers an innovative approach to overcome these limitations by linking ceramic injection molding, a technology for high volume fabrication of ceramics, with nanoimprint lithography, a technology for cost-efficient high volume production of nanostructures [3]. This is carried out by using UV-nanoimprinted, nanostructured flexible polymer foils as temporary, so-called lost mould within ceramic injection moulding. Within NILcim injection molds are designed for the use of nanostructured flexible polymer foils as lost moulds and feedstocks for ceramic injection molding feasible for nanostructured alumina and zirconia ceramics are developed. In addition these nanostructured surfaces are not only flat but also bended (half cylinder).


Targeted surface properties are structures down to 500-600 nm, which is the limit of the minimal grain size of the sintered parts. Such structures are "artificial" structures designed and transferred to the ceramics, as well as structures from nature using a bionic approach. This requires the development of methods to replicate structures directly from biological samples into stamps for nanoimprint lithography, which can be further replicated onto polymer foils used as lost moulds in corresponding sizes and employable volumes.



[1] R. M. German and A. Bose, Injection Molding of Metals and Ceramics, Metal Powder Industries Federation, Princeton, NJ, 1997, 413 pages.

[2] H. Schift, S. Park, J. Gobecht, F. Maier, W. Raupach, K. Vogelsang, Microelectronic Engineering 78-79 (2005) p. 605-611.

[3] S.Y. Chou, P.R. Krauss and P.J. Renstrom, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 14 (1996) 4129-4133.



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