Apparatus for focused electric-field imprinting for micron and sub-micron patterns on wavy or planar surfaces
A Focused Electric Field Imprinting (FEFI) process and apparatus provides a focused electric field to guide an unplating operation and/or a plating operation to form very fine-pitched metal patterns on a substrate. The process is a variation of the electrochemical unplating process, wherein the process is modified for imprinting range of patterns of around 2000 microns to 20 microns or less in width, and from about 0.1 microns or less to 10 microns or more in depth. Some embodiments curve a proton-exchange membrane whose shape is varied using suction on a backing fluid through a support mask. Other embodiments use a curved electrode. Mask-membrane interaction parameters and process settings vary the feature size, which can generate sub-100-nm features. The feature-generation process is parallelized, and a stepped sequence of such FEFI operations, can generate sub-100 nm lines with sub-100 nm spacing. The described FEFI process is implemented on copper substrate, and also works well on other conductors.