3-Dimensional (3D) surfaces with features below 100 nanometres have numerous applications ranging from optics to life sciences. In this way, Tecnalia participates in a intragated FP7 European Project called NAPANIL to develop new manufacturing processes, based on nanoimprinting techniques (NIL), as a core aspect for the success of those applications. The main benefits followed are cost reduction, simpler fabrication process and processing of functionalised material.
The expectations for the future of 3D nanoimprinting are diverse; however, the highest priority is seen in cost-efficient products with novel or improved functionalities. In the first place, up-scaling of 3D nanoimprinting to large areas and high through put by making use of new tools and materials is done. The integration of these processes into the complete value-chain of manufacturing needs further efforts at European level.
The economic impact is still not valued, but the focus of all efforts is on the intelligent displays in the automotive sector, optics and optoelectronics and on the market of functional films.
In this projects frame, TECNALIA works for the development of new materials for NIL, specifically intelligent polymers and also for the development of chemical optical sensors based on those materials.
With Tecnalia, there are 17 Partners from 8 different countries, such as, Finland (VTT, Modlines, Helsinki University), France (Saint-Gobalin, Cognoscenes, SET SAS, CNRS LTM, CEA LETI), Denmark (DTU), Germany (MRT AMO), Switzerland (PSI), Spain (Tecnalia, ICN), United Kingdom (Glasgow University, Impattorn) and Italy (CRF, INFM/TAS).
Over 70 professionals of the field coming from both the public and private sectors recently met in Berlin to address questions related to the development of this technology: NIL. The opportunity came from the European R&D project “NAPANIL - Nanopatterning, Productions and Applications, based on Nanoimprinting Lithography”, which held its first Industrial Day on 6 April 2011 in the heart of Berlin, Alexanderplatz, hosted by the German company micro resist technology GmbH. Among the participants, 25 representatives of the project, together with 50 participants from other institutions (26 participants from the industry and 24 participants from technical institutes), explored the potentials, limitations and expected impact of nanoimprint lithography on the market. This was achieved through a series of talks and discussions that paved the way for several collaborations oriented to the exploitation of 3-D nanoimprinting market. As a conclusion, innovation can only come through the involvement of end users in this exploration phase and the analysis of the key issues that would enable to complete the value-chain including modeling, tools, materials, stamps and full process control. NAPANIL Industrial Day raised high interest and proved to be an effective way of enabling professionals in technology and industrial players to share their diverse, yet complementary perspectives, and the possibility of a second event before the end of the project is now being considered.
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