This paper presents a maskless lithography system that can perform three-dimensional (3D) ultraviolet (UV) patterning on a photoresist (PR) layer. After PR developing processes, patterned 3D PR microstructures over a large area are obtained. This maskless lithography system utilizes an UV light source, a digital micromirror device (DMD), and an image projection lens to project a digital UV image on the PR layer. The projected UV image is then mechanically scanned over the PR layer. An UV patterning scheme based on the idea of obliquely scanning and step strobe lighting (OS3L) is developed to precisely control the spatial distribution of projected UV dose, such that desired 3D PR microstructures can be obtained after PR development. Two types of concave microstructures with truncated conical and nuzzle-shaped cross-sectional profiles are experimentally obtained over a patterning area of 160 ×115 mm2. These patterned microstructures are then used for replicating nickel molds and for mass-production of light-guiding plates used in back-lighting and display industry. Potential improvements and advancements of the proposed 3D maskless lithography technique for future applications will be addressed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics