Market and Technology Trends
Nano-Imprint Technology Trends for Semiconductor Applications 2019
By Yole Intelligence —
Nano-Imprint Lithography is revived by photonics and biochips as well as front-end memory applications.
Introduction, definition and methodology 7
Executive summary 17
- Introduction to Nano-Imprint Lithography (NIL) technologies
- Lithography technologies – overview
- NIL definition
- NIL principle
- NIL technologies classification
- Consumables in the NIL process
- NIL technologies – benefits and drivers
- SWOT analysis
NIL market segment and applications 58
- NIL at a glance
- NIL applicability in the semiconductor field
- NIL drivers by end application
- SWOT analysis of the NIL technology by application
NIL suppliers: competitive landscape 78
- Overview of the major NIL semiconductor equipment suppliers
- NIL equipment positioning, by application
- NIL equipment players’ market share and revenue
- Master suppliers
- Mold suppliers 2018 – 2024
NIL equipment market forecast 102
- NIL equipment market forecast breakdown, by end-application
In-depth analysis of NIL technologies, by end application 110
- NIL for optical photonics elements
- NIL for Augmented Reality (AR)
- NIL for 3D Sensing
- NIL for datacom/telecom
- NIL for biochips
- NIL for LED
Conclusions and perspectives 223
Company presentation 247
NIL’S BENEFITS COULD DISRUPT SEMICONDUCTOR APPLICATIONS
Nano-Imprint Lithography (NIL) has already been implemented for some non-semiconductor applications, mostly at the research level.
Semiconductor devices mostly require photolithography technology. However, the emergence of new semiconductor devices demands tighter nanoscale resolution, complex shapes and more cost-effective lithography solutions. This has triggered the need for new patterning processes.
Producers are therefore regaining interest in NIL, which is based on mechanical replication. The technology is especially relevant to photonic elements, biochips and front-end 3D NAND memory, as it enables nanoscale structures below 20 nm over large surfaces and provides complex patterning capabilities.
On the photonics side, NIL technology realizes complex pattern shapes in a periodic way. For life science, the same technology ensures biocompatibility and solves the challenges of increasing complexity of biotechnology devices while enabling finer feature sizes. In the memory business, NIL could represent a cost-effective solution to achieving high-resolution feature sizes.
However, there are still some big barriers that prevent NIL from entering mass production. Generally speaking, the master fabrication process appears to be a critical step that increases the Cost of Ownership (CoO) of the NIL process. Additionally, stamp lifetime and finding a trade-off between overlay, defect levels and throughput are issues that are holding back of NIL in high volume manufacturing.
Solving all these limitations could be a game-changer for NIL in the semiconductor industry. This report offers a technical description of the different NIL technologies, their drivers and main challenges.
SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING COMPLEXITY BRINGS NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN THE NIL EQUIPMENT MARKET
Excitement about NIL technologies has grown exponentially since 2014, when Canon completed its acquisition of Molecular Imprints, a start-up provider of nano-patterning systems for the hard disk drive and semiconductor sector.
Numerous companies with different business models have now invested in NIL technology. They include photonic element manufacturers, epi-house foundries, microfluidic foundries or integrated device manufacturers. Their applications span augmented reality, 3D sensing and datacom/ telecommunications. This paves the way for a significant boost to NIL.
Increasing demand for lower cost lithography solutions, integration of complex shapes and patterns and nanoscale structures is expected to offer many opportunities for NIL technologies. This will drive the NIL equipment market in the next few years.
Although the NIL equipment business is still a niche market for semiconductor applications, it is expected to explode. Its revenue compound annual growth rate from 2018-2024 (CAGR2018- 2024) will reach an impressive 24% from, making the market worth $146M by 2024.
Now the questions are: “Which semiconductor devices will revive NIL into the next-game changer?” and “For which applications will NIL be used?” Currently, the real boost for the NIL equipment market is expected in photonic elements, driven by Augmented Reality (AR), 3D sensing as well as datacom/telecommunication. NIL offers the ability to imprint diffractive optical elements (DOEs) in the nanoscale. This includes optical gratings and photonic crystals to create waveguides, light shaping elements and pattern generators.
Specific to biochips for the life science space, NIL technology has already been implemented for imprinting DNA sequencing devices in the nanoscale regime. Yole Développement (Yole) forecasts further investment in NIL from different players involved in DNA sequencing. Yole also anticipates the breakthrough of NIL processes for point of care and organs-on-chips in the next three years. This is led by a strong trend towards miniaturization and controlled systems delivery with respect to transport and manipulation of biological fluids.
Last but not least, NIL equipment from Canon has been evaluated by Toshiba to replace steppers for the next generation of 3D NAND memories and potentially other front-end memories in a longer term. It would enable a cost-effective process at higher resolution feature size, and is currently in a R&D phase.
This report provides the NIL equipment market forecast for three large-application semiconductor markets: photonics, biochips and 3D NAND memory. In addition, it outlines Yole’s understanding of current market dynamics and outlook on the future evolution of NIL technologies.
NIL TECHNOLOGY’S BENEFITS WILL ATTRACT MORE MANUFACTURING PLAYERS
The NIL market is fragmented into different business models and numerous players.
From the equipment perspective, the NIL equipment market for optical photonic elements driven by augmented reality, 3D sensing and datacom applications is highly diversified. This sector is fragmented, with equipment suppliers including EV Group (EVG), SUSS MicroTec and Obducat. By contrast, the biochip and memories markets are effectively monopolies, with EVG and Canon respectively active in those markets. Most companies have developed expertise in optical photonic elements or biochips, but not all of them. Canon is the only system vendor that has developed expertise in the storage memory space.
For each feature size range, there is a clear leading NIL supplier. In the nanometer range EVG is dominant, especially in DOEs. SUSS MicroTec has a strong market share in the micrometer range.
A few material suppliers officially provide resin materials specific to NIL processes, such as Micro Resist Technology and DiC Color & Comfort. However, some vendors come from a different material industry, such as providing temporary bonding material or photoresist. They are currently leveraging their knowledge and capabilities to expand their product portfolios towards NIL materials.
Manufacturers of NIL equipment, materials or processes use different strategies to drive forward in the NIL market for semiconductor applications:
- Seeking to evolve toward greater diversification, some NIL players have acquired other companies. Magic Leap’s acquisition of Molecular Imprint allowed it to explore NIL capabilities and leverage the technology in its products.
- In the hopes of acquiring market share in other regions, some vendors have developed turnkey cluster solutions, including coating and baking systems in NIL tools. Some suppliers have remodeled their wafer bonder tool to turn them into NIL systems.
- Other companies, like SCIL Nanoimprint Solutions, a Philips subsidiary, or Stensborg, provide an overall working solution to the NIL industry comprising the production tool, materials and the special stamp associated with the process.
The report quantifies and details the competitive landscape and major NIL equipment supplier market in both micro and nanoscale feature ranges.
AMO, Akonia Holographics, AustriaMicrosystems, Canon, Dai Nippon Printing (DNP), Daqri, DELO, Digilens, Dispelix, EVG Group, Himax, IMS Chips, IQE, Luminit, Konica Minolta, Micro Resist Technology, NIL Technology, Stensborg, SUSS MicroTec, MagicLeap, Microsoft, Obducat, Rockwell Collins, Sony, TOK, Toppan,Toshiba, TruLifeOptics, Trumpf, Viavi Solutions, Vuzix, WaveOptics and more…
Key features of the report
- Detailed analysis of NIL technologies in three major semiconductor applications: photonics, biochips and front-end memories (3D NAND)
- Key players and supply chain
- 2018-2024 NIL equipment market forecast: breakdown by device type and end-application segment
- 2018 global NIL equipment market share in the semiconductor applications
- 2018 NIL equipment suppliers by device type
- Overview of the players using NIL technology, by device and endapplications
- Roadmap for NIL technology adoption by semiconductor device
Objectives of the report
- Detailed analysis of NIL technologies for semiconductor applications
- Give the current status of NIL adoption and the various technologies available on the semiconductor market
- Provide an overview of NIL technological trends for semiconductor applications
- How does the NIL technique differ from the other lithography solutions?
- What are the key NIL drivers for photonics, BioChips and front-end memories (3D NAND)
- Understand what are the remaining challenges to implementation of NIL technology in the field of semiconductor applications
- Offer market metrics at NIL equipment market level for semiconductor applications from 2018-2024
- Evaluate market developments in terms of market volume and value by semiconductor device and end-application
- Provide a competitive landscape by identifying key players in technology development and manufacturing
- Gives an overview of who is doing what, and specifics of each market