Direct imaging equipment, maskless aligners, and other maskless lithography tools are gaining traction in the industry. The same goes for 3D and computer-to-screen (CtS) printing. All maskless exposure systems rely on digital mirror devices (DMD) such as Texas Instruments’ DLP® chipsets. TI developed DLP® technology to create state-of-the-art digital cinema projection systems. In industrial use cases, these high-resolution optical MEMS replace conventional masks serve to expose structures on substrates with UV-sensitive coatings, resins, or resists. DMDs can bring the benefits of far greater flexibility to your process: Why not ditch the physical photomasks and reinvent your photolithography or printing with instant, dynamically controllable changeovers of exposure patterns?
It takes a powerful UV light source to achieve sufficient throughput with a DMD projection system in high-volume manufacturing. Mercury discharge lamps were long the illumination technology of choice, but now some have been replaced by laser diodes with longer service lives. These laser diodes have a big drawback: Unlike discharge lamps, they are almost monochromatic (e.g., 405 nm only), often yielding less-than-desirable exposure results.
Recent advances in UV-LED technology have spawned high-performance emitters covering the spectral range of conventional mercury arc discharge lamps. Combining these emitters in a UV-LED DMD illuminator has its advantages. This combo tool delivers high-intensity polychromatic optical output and drives down the total cost of ownership. Primelite distributes the LumiDL™, one of the most powerful DMD illuminators available based on LED technology.
The LumiDL™ is among the most powerful DMD illuminators on the market. Its UV radiation output is so high that the illuminator’s LED module requires sophisticated liquid cooling, as does the DLP® chipset.
A DMD projection system using the LumiDL™ UV-LED Illuminator is typically an optical setup comprising a TIR prism, a suitable DLP® chipset, and a projection lens. While 3D and CtS printing setups usually work with a single exposure unit, HVM direct imaging tools combine several illuminators in parallel for increased throughput.
LumiDL™ UV-LED DMD iIlluminators can be fine-tuned to any wavelength composition needed for the given exposure process.
Resins for 3D printing perform best when exposed at 385 or 405 nm. With that in mind, using a high-power monospectral DMD illuminator configuration makes perfect sense for DLP®-based 3D printers.
The situation is different for maskless lithography applications: Many resists originate from the discharge lamp era, and curing results benefit from strong broadband radiation. This is why LumiDL™ DMD illuminators are available with any combination of 365, 385, 405, and 436 nm emitters.
LumiDL™ UV-LED DMD illuminators deliver up to 40 W of total optical power to the DLP® chipset.