Maskless lithography applications (e.g., direct imaging equipment and maskless aligners), 3D printing, and computer-to-screen (CtS) printing are increasingly gaining track in the industry. All maskless exposure systems heavily rely on Digital Mirror Devices (DMD) like Texas Instruments’ DLP® chipsets. TI developed the DLP® technology initially to create state-of-the-art systems for digital cinema projection. In industrial applications, these high-resolution optical MEMS replace conventional masks to expose structures on substrates with UV-sensitive coatings, resins, or resists. Using DMDs instead of physical photomasks adds remarkable flexibility to the process: Rethink your photolithography or printing application with instant changeovers of exposure patterns that are dynamically controllable.
A DMD projection system in high-volume manufacturing needs a potent UV light source to achieve sufficient throughput. Mercury discharge lamps were the illumination technology of choice for a long time but have partly seen replacement by laser diodes with longer service life. Again, these laser diodes have an essential drawback: Unlike discharge lamps, they are almost monochromatic (e.g., 405 nm only) and therefore produce exposure results that are not always desirable.
Recent developments 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 the advantage of delivering high-intensity polychromatic optical output while substantially reducing the total cost of ownership at the same time. Primelite distributes the LumiDL™, which is among 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 not only the LED module of the illuminator needs sophisticated liquid cooling, but the DLP® chipset as well.
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 applications usually work with a single exposure unit, HVM direct imaging tools combine several illuminators in parallel for increased throughput.
LumiDL™ UV-LED DMD Illuminators can be completely fine-tuned to the wavelength composition an exposure process may require.
Resins for 3D printing perform best when exposed at 385 or 405 nm. Hence, using a corresponding high-power monospectral DMD illuminator configuration makes perfect sense in 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. Considering this, LumiDL™ DMD Illuminators are available with any combination of 365, 385, 405, and 435 nm emitters.
LumiDL™ UV-LED DMD Illuminators deliver up to 40 W of total optical power to the DLP® chipset.