Nanoimprint technology (NIT) has evolved from a lithography process aimed at the semiconductor industry to a platform technology applicable to a wide range of products. For many applications, nanoimprinting is used as a direct patterning technique where permanent and functional nanostructures are formed. Today, NIT is no longer a buzz word exclusive to the semiconductor and data storage industries. It is quickly gaining interest from other diverse sectors such as the optical components and biomedical industries. However, unlike the well-defined specifications for semiconductor devices and data storage media, there is scarce data on the design rules for many of these emerging applications.
Our interactions with a myriad of industries in the last 2 years have revealed the following: (1) there are an increasing number of industry players from diverse backgrounds showing interest in NIT, and (2) while these interests come from diverse sectors of the economy, there are certain convergent themes that can be established to benefit industries in consortia to promote the adoption of NIT for the manufacturing of products and services. It is with this motivation that the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) is forming an Industrial Consortium on Nanoimprint (I.C.O.N.) to identify such themes for multi-party collaborative pre-competitive research and development with industry partners.