Beyond direct-write: Dynamically reconfigurable holographic multibeam interference lithography for high-throughput nanomanufacturing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering


This project aims to develop a laboratory implementation of a new dynamic lithography technique, named "holographic multibeam interference lithography (HMBIL)." This new technique will combine the advantages of interference lithography (e.g. [1]) with holographically pre-shaped beams [2]. Unlike traditional interference lithography - which is limited to periodic patterns - HMBIL is anticipated to enable the patterning of arbitrarily-shaped features. The proposed technique will also achieve comparable write-speeds to interference lithography, with our target to write >25 cm2 device area in under 1 hour with resolution down to 100 nm. Achieving arbitrarily shaped nanoscale features with such fast write-speeds is unachievable with current direct-write technologies (e.g. laser direct-write), and presents a key unmet need in the manufacture of emerging electronic and photonic systems. This PhD project aims to address this need by developing HMBIL. As a proof-of-principle, the project will demonstrate the capability of HMBIL for manufacturing an example device structure: multispectral filter arrays. These filter arrays, when integrated with an image sensor, will allow the acquisition of light spectra for applications as diverse as medical imaging to remote sensing. HMBIL manufacture of multispectral filter arrays will open up a range of avenues for custom detectors and imaging sensors for security, industrial or medical applications.

Planned Impact

The impact of the CDT in Connected Electronic and Photonic Systems is expected to be wide ranging and include both scientific research and industry outcomes. In terms of academia, it is envisaged that there will be a growing range of research activity in this converged field in coming years, and so the research students should not only have opportunities to continue their work as research fellows, but also to increasingly find posts as academics and indeed in policy advice and consulting.

The main area of impact, however, is expected to be industrial manufacturing and service industries. Relevant industries will include those involved in all areas of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), together with printing, consumer electronics, construction, infrastructure, defence, energy, engineering, security, medicine and indeed systems companies providing information systems, for example for the financial, retail and medical sectors. Such industries will be at the heart of the digital economy, energy, healthcare, security and manufacturing fields. These industries have huge markets, for example the global consumer electronics market is expected to reach $2.97 trillion in 2020. The photonics sector itself represents a huge enterprise. The global photonics market was $510B in 2013 and is expected to grow to $766 billion in 2020. The UK has the fifth largest manufacturing base in electronics in the world, with annual turnover of £78 billion and employing 800,000 people (TechUK 2016). The UK photonics industry is also world leading with annual turnover of over £10.5 billion, employing 70,000 people and showing sustained growth of 6% to 8% per year over the last three decades (Hansard, 25 January 2017 Col. 122WH). As well as involving large companies, such as Airbus, Leonardo and ARM, there are over 10,000 UK SMEs in the electronics and photonics manufacturing sector, according to Innovate UK. Evidence of the entrepreneurial culture that exists and the potential for benefit to the UK economy from establishing the CDT includes the founding of companies such as Smart Holograms, PervasID, Light Blue Optics, Zinwave, Eight19 and Photon Design by staff and our former PhD students. Indeed, over 20 companies have been spun out in the last 10 years from the groups proposing this CDT.

The success of these industries has depended upon the availability of highly skilled researchers to drive innovation and competitive edge. 70% of survey respondents in the Hennik Annual Manufacturing Report 2017 reported difficulty in recruiting suitably skilled workers. Contributing to meeting this acute need will be the primary impact of the CEPS CDT.

Centre research activities will contribute very strongly to research impact in the ICT area (Internet of Things (IoT), data centre interconnects, next generation access technologies, 5G+ network backhaul, converged photonic/electronic integration, quantum information processing etc), underpinning the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) and Digital Economy themes and contributing strongly to the themes of Energy (low energy lighting, low energy large area photonic/electronics for e-posters and window shading, photovoltaics, energy efficient displays), Manufacturing the Future (integrated photonic and electronic circuits, smart materials processing with photonics, embedded intelligence and interconnects for Industry 4.0), Quantum Technologies (device and systems integration for quantum communications and information processing) Healthcare Technologies (optical coherence tomography, discrete and real time biosensing, personalised healthcare), Global Uncertainties and Living with Environmental Change (resilient converged communications, advanced sensing systems incorporating electronics with photonics).


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022139/1 01/10/2019 31/03/2028
2719982 Studentship EP/S022139/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026 Antoni Wojcik