2013 R&D 100 Winner
The semiconductor industry has provided developers with a set of tools to create sub-micrometer 2-D electronics. However, development of complex 3-D sub-micrometer-scale structures have been hampered by the lack of equipment that isn’t oriented to 2-D constructs. Developers at Sandia National Laboratories believe that their Membrane Projection Lithography (MPL) technology bridges the gap by allowing the creation of micrometer-scale 3-D metallo-dielectric structures using standard microfabrication materials and equipment. The basic principle of operation behind MPL is directional deposition through a patterned membrane suspended over a 3-D cavity. The operation of projecting the 2-D membrane pattern onto the 3-D geometry of the cavity leads to the formation of 3-D structures in a single process step that cannot be fabricated using any other known method. A key component that underlies the success of MPL is the identification of materials comprising the membrane, backfill, substrate and decoration that can be added or subtracted without affecting the other materials.

Membrane projection lithography

Sandia National Laboratories

Development Team

Sandia National Laboratories' Membrane Projection Lithography development team. Bottom row (l-r): Rob Ellis, Bruce Burckel, Sally Samora, Bonnie McKenzie, Mike Sinclair. Top row (l-r): Joel Wendt, Greg Ten Eyck, Rick McCormick, Paul Resnick, Igal Brener, Mike Wiwi.


The Membrane Projection Lithography (MPL) Development Team from Sandia National Laboratories
Bruce Burckel, Principal Developer
John Anderson
Igal Brener
A. Robert Ellis
Frederick B. McCormick
Bonnie B. McKenzie
Paul J. Resnick
Sally Samora
Michael B. Sinclair
Joel R. Wendt
Michael Wiwi