Small scale, big impact: exceptionally thin and durable free-standing CNB membrane from Canatu


The global semiconductor market is growing rapidly. The growth is driven by advancements in IoT, automotive and 5G requiring faster chips that use less power. EUV lithography is a giant leap forward, yet defects in printing remain the greatest constraint to EUV uptake. Silicon is reaching its physical limits too, calling for new material innovations to keep Moore’s Law on track.

Sometimes the biggest impact can be made on the smallest scale. Canatu (Vantaa, Finland) pioneers the future of semiconductor manufacturing with its proprietary breakthrough technology called Carbon NanoBud (CNB), a hybrid carbon nanomaterial fusing nanotubes with fullerenes. Everything Canatu does revolves around Carbon NanoBuds which, as a network, feature truly remarkable mechanical, optical, and electrical properties.

Free-standing membranes composed entirely of CNB feature nanoscale thickness (less than 20nm) with no substrate support. Despite being very thin, CNB membranes are exceptionally strong because of the high aspect ratio of the individual CNB tubes. A single CNB tube is only 1-2 nanometres thin, yet they can be more than 10 micrometres long.

The CNB membrane is an exceptionally thin and strong  free-standing membrane that can endure industrial handling and processing. It is a random network with a very small pore size, capable of filtering particles down to the nanoscale. Thanks to the very small interaction cross-section of carbon, CNB membranes feature extremely high light transmission (>97%T at EUV / X-Ray), low scattering, and have high heat resistance of up to 1500°C without breaking or decomposing.

Such membranes benefit a broad spectrum of applications ranging from EUV pellicles to X-Ray windows to optical filters and more, and they come in multiple sizes, shapes and thicknesses.

Canatu has developed a unique dry process for synthesising and depositing CNBs which eliminates compromising wet dispersion steps traditionally used to make carbon nanotube membranes. This enables the company to create longer, cleaner and virtually defect-free tubes ensuring better performance in the end application. The material and process are also highly tuneable. Canatu has means to synthesize single-walled, double-walled and multi-walled tubes. The level of bundling and network density of these tubes can be also controlled to match the application-specific requirements. Finally, this highly tailorable morphology can be conformally coated with organic or inorganic coatings in case the transmission of the visible light needs to be eliminated, or the carbon needs to be passivated against certain chemistries.

Caption: Canatu’s CNB membranes benefit a broad spectrum of applications (photo: Canatu/Shutterstock)

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