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Micro- and Nanotechnology

In the clean room of the Competence Centre for Micro- and Nanotechnologies of the Leibniz-IPHT, thin-film sensors and microstructures made of materials such as gold, silver, niobium, titanium or glass as well as special techniques for microfluidic components are researched and developed. The strength of the institute is its ability to offer a wide range of different approaches for increasingly compact, integrated, multifunctional sensor and detector designs for applications in radiation sensing and biophotonics. To this end, top-down processes are used to generate nanostructures at wafer level. Bottom-up processes are used to obtain nanoparticles, whose properties and possible applications are also being intensively researched at the Leibniz-IPHT. Top-down and bottom-up processes are combined for new sensor and detection methods. The clean room is in operation 12 hours a day, with an average of 25 people working here simultaneously. On average, more than 260 wafers are produced per year, as well as about 100 photolithography masks. In addition, there are production activities, e.g. in the field of thermoelectric sensor technology.

The fields of application addressed range from biosensorics (plasmonic nanomaterials for surface-enhanced spectroscopy), radiation sensors for wavelength ranges from X-rays to THz and microfluidic components for lab-on-a-chip systems for medical and life science applications to micro- and nano-optics.

Resist coating in the photolithography
From silicon substrate to a structured wafer
Membrane wafer

Wafer-Level Nanolithography: Electron-Beam Character Projection

Chip-based plasmonically active surfaces for bio- and chemosensory applications are composed of artificial, usually periodic metal structures. The size of the structures lies far below the wavelength of visible light. They are often smaller than 100 nanometers and have lattice periods as low as 100 nanometers. The Vistec SB 350 OS electron-beam exposure system operates according to the principle of the “variable shape beam.” It is available on the Beutenberg Campus and is used by the Fraunhofer Institute (the facility’s location), the Institute for Applied Physics at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, and the Leibniz-IPHT. As a technology that augments character projection, it is also virtually unique on the research scene.

100-mm wafer with SERS structures
Gold bowties on Si as templates for TopUp-SERS
Tracking of prohibited substances in food using SERS substrates

Atomic Layer Deposition: Layer by layer to function

They are an integral part of high-sensitivity temperature sensors and new ultrafast single-photon detectors. Alternatively, they serve as a protective coating for nanostructures: just a few nanometers thin layers of aluminum nitride, niobium nitride, aluminum oxide, titanium dioxide, or silicon dioxide. With atomic layer deposition (ALD), these ultra-thin layers can be deposited on surfaces evenly and virtually without defect.

Superconducting niobium nitride coil generated through ALD/electron-beam lithography
Conformal ALD multilayers
Silver-silica hybrid structure produced by metastable ALD

Using nanotechnology to create silicon nanostructures

Top-down and bottom-up processes enable the production of nanoscale silicon, whose chemical-physical properties differ from those of the macroscopic solid. The technologies established at Leibniz IPHT for the production of silicon nanowires are resulting in the emergence of new applications beyond photovoltaics. The range of applications extends from biophotonic nanostructures for use in medicine and health technology to new sensor and detector materials for basic research. Modern nano- and microtechnology are available at Leibniz IPHT for the production of uniformly structured nanowire arrays, nanoparticles, and dense carpets made of monocrystalline silicon wires.

Microfluidics: Laboratory of the future on a chip

Microfluidics offers a wide range of technological solutions for combining modern spectroscopic and optical methods with a compact chip platform. Microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems (LOC) are already supplementing time-consuming, expensive routine laboratory procedures and ensuring on-site analysis and diagnosis independent of the need for a specific laboratory infrastructure.

Nanoplasmonics: Metal nanoparticles of every shape and color

With customized metallic nanoparticles, scientists can now accurately control the position of localized surface plasmons and their interaction with light. As optical markers for biomolecules, signal transducers in sensor technology, or optical antennae, plasmonically active nanoparticles provide an outstanding means for the solution of bioanalytical questions.

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