Hybrid Force/Position Control for Planar Alignment

Technology #9337

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FIG. 1A is a schematic of the microcontact printing process;  FIG. 1B is an enlarged view taken from FIG. 1AFIG. 2 is a side perspective view of the printing apparatus according to the inventionFIG. 3 is a perspective view of the printing unit showing the degrees of freedomFIG. 4 is a perspective view of a wafer chuck on the surface plate
Professor David Trumper
Department of Mechanical Engineering, MIT
External Link (pmc.mit.edu)
Amar Kendle
Managed By
Christopher Noble
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Clean and Renewable Energy
Patent Protection

Microcontact Printing

US Patent 7,665,983


Applications for this technology are found in industrial printing and in nanopatterning for chemical and biological applications.

Problem Addressed

Small structure generation is important to work in biology and chemistry. From research and development to the production line, nano-feature size patterning of substrates is critical. Previously, microfabrication technologies, such as photolithography, were adapted for patterning; however, these methods are very expensive making them unsuitable for prototyping. Soft lithography, which uses microfabricated masters with elastomeric materials and ink brought into contact with a substrate to transfer a microscale pattern. Although this process is flexible, inexpensive, and redily scalable, a deterministic procedure is needed for commercialization.


The technology provides a deterministic procedure for microcontact printing. First, the method outlines a hybrid method for force and position control in the planar alignment process. Then, a contact patch control algorithm is initiated using adaptive control to ensure uniformity across a large number of samples. Finally, a deterministic process for stamp generation is outlined. The stamps are constructed out of PDMS, which has the advantages of being flexible, durable, chemically inert, and optically transparent. The ink forms self-assembled monolayers, which allows for ultra-thin resists, controllable interfaces, and low defect rates. Finally, there is a great deal of flexibility in the substrate choice allow with minimal post-processing requirements.


  • Consistent nanopatterning of a variety of substrates
  • Flexible
  • Inexpensive
  • Deterministic