Our Technology

We make microparts by means of X-ray, e-beam, UV and 2-photon lithography and by electroplating in gold, nickel, and nickel alloys. That way, we design each part using the most appropriate technique and material.

What we offer is essentially a much-broadened interpretation of LIGA technology ("LIGA" is a German acronym for Lithographie/Galvanoformung/Abformung – lithography,electroplating, and molding).

There are specific advantages to each type of lithography and material. Find out more below.
E-Beam Lithography
with the EBPG5200Z e-beam writer

Highest precision and resolution combined with rapid patterning are the mainbenefits of e-beam lithography. We use the KIT/IMT’s EBPG5200Z e-beam lithography system to design X-ray masks with features as small as 100 nm at heights of 2 µm. With e-beam lithography, the placement of patterns is extremely accurate, with a margin of error of less than 100 nm over a distance of several cm. This precise pattern placement is crucial to the performance of our small-period X-ray gratings.

1 µm
100 nm
Direct-Write Laser Lithography
with the DWL66fs UV direct-write laser

Direct laser writing at a wavelength of 355 nm allows us to pattern highly sensitive SU-8 resists in thicknesses far beyond the range that is possible using e-beam lithography. We mainly use this technology to pattern high-contrast X-ray masks directly from the CAD data. The machine’s precision is made possible by interferometric control of the table movement.

10 µm
20 µm
X-Ray Lithography
at the KARA synchrotron

X-ray lithography is our flagship technology, used by Microworks since day 1. With X-ray lithography, we can readily make structures up to 20 times higher than their width, with pattern heights ranging between a few µm all the way to a few thousand µm. The high aspect ratio (height ÷ width) is the key feature of these structures, delivering excellent performance in X-ray optics. Smooth sidewalls are an additional benefit of X-ray lithography, which is particularly important for visible and infrared optical applications.

20 µm
200 µm
Two-Photon Lithography
with the Photonic Professional GT2 3D Printer

This technique is the latest addition to our range of lithography options. Two-photon lithography allows full 3D design freedom. We mostly use it to make patterns which can later be replicated via a mould (in 2.5D). Details can be made as small as 0.2 µm.

5 µm
20 µm
Electroplating in Nickel + Gold

We mainly use gold and nickel for electroplating because these materials can be plated to tall structure heights such as those achieved via X-ray lithography. Gold is particularly suitable for making X-ray optical elements due to its excellent X-ray absorption. Nickel is the right choice for phase-shifting elements due to its low absorption and high refractive index. In very thick layers, electroplated nickel can also be used as a molding tool to replicate lithographic patterns. Nickel alloys are used for electroplating whenever their particular properties are required: thermal in the case of nickel-cobalt alloys, and mechanical or magnetic in the case of nickel-iron alloys.

20 µm
500 µm