Christiaan Bekker, PhD Candidate, University of Queensland, Australia:
"At the University of Queensland, we recently bought two Raith EBL systems: the eLINE Plus, which was commissioned in 2017, and the EBPG, which arrived in 2018. This has revolutionised fabrication in our group and across the university. Where the photolithography capabilities previously the mainstay of our group allowed resolution down to three or four microns, both systems allow us to pattern features down to tens of nanometers in scale. So far, we are designing features down to 200nm in size, so it is exciting to know that we’re not even close to pushing the limits of the machines yet!
Our research group is interested in designing optomechanical whispering-gallery mode resonators for many different applications, including opto-electromechanics, magnetometry, superfluid hybrid optomechanics, strong measurement and phononics. This variety of interests comes with a corresponding range of requirements, from multi-layer or large-area alignment to high-resolution and low-distortion patterning, all of which are satisfied by the Raith eLINE and EBPG systems.
The EBLs are housed at the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis, the Queensland node of Microscopy Australia, in their own dedicated cleanroom. This allows us to perform nearly the entire fabrication process without risking the samples’ exposure to dust and particles in the air. The eLINE is truly a Swiss army knife in our toolkit, allowing us to change the patterning modes for specific types of devices (with the FBMS feature is especially useful for applications requiring on-chip optical waveguides), and SEM with ease after development to inspect the results. The Raith EBPG is not only amazingly fast with its 125 MHz pattern generator, but its 100 kV column allows us to create patterns with vertical sidewalls even when thick resists are required.
These systems work together really well, and are a testament to Raith’s product planning and ability to lead and deliver on many levels and for a variety of requirements, which is particularly challenging in the context of university research.