SPIE Photomask Technology + EUV Lithography

Small scale, big impact: the world's thinnest carbon nanotube membrane


SPIE Photomask Technology + EUV Lithography Digital Forum addressed the worldwide status of EUV technology and infrastructure readiness. Scientists, engineers and industry leaders came together to discuss current research, hear the latest breakthroughs, share company announcements and connect with colleagues.

Canatu’s CTO Ilkka Varjos joined the forum to talk about the world’s thinnest and strongest free-standing CNT membranes as a key enabler of  high-volume semiconductor manufacturing. His talk focused on how to leverage the unique versatility of Canatu carbon nanotubes (CNT) to enable industry-transforming products.

Watch presentation above and download conference proceedings to learn what’s unique about Canatu carbon nanotubes, what is free-standing CNT membrane, how the network structure can be modified, and what are some real-life applications for the technology.

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Please submit your information to receive Canatu proceedings of SPIE Photomask Technology + EUV Lithography 2021 conference.

© (2021) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only. The paper was initially published in the SPIE Digital Library as proceedings of  SPIE Photomask Technology + EUV Lithography 2021 conference. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2599072


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 among the greatest constraints to EUV technology uptake. Silicon is reaching its physical limits too, calling for new material innovations to keep Moore’s Law on track. 

Canatu CNB membrane is the world’s thinnest and strongest free-standing CNT membrane. It is a random network with a very small pore size, capable of filtering particles down to the nanoscale.

Despite being less than 20nm thin, the CNB membrane is exceptionally strong because of the high aspect ratio of the individual CNB tubes. Thanks to unique dry process, Canatu can make longer a cleaner tubes, enabling better performance in the end application. A single CNB tube is only 1 – 2 nanometres thick (100,000 times thinner than a sheet of paper), yet they can be more than 10 micrometres long, which makes CNB membranes thin and durable to endure industrial handling and processing.

Thanks to very small interaction cross-section of carbon, free-standing CNB membranes have extremely good optical properties, unequaled by any other material.  CNB membranes feature extraordinary high light transmission (>97%T at EUV / X-Ray) and low light scattering; essential e.g. in high-volume semiconductor manufacturing where CNB membranes are used as EUV pellicles to protect the photomask from defects while allowing maximum light passage, enhancing precision, shorten processing, and increasing production efficiency on the wafer by ~25%.

Free-standing CNB membranes also have very high heat resistance. Depending on the environment, the CNB membranes can tolerate up to 1500°C without breaking or decomposing. Another unique ability of the CNB membrane is their very low pressure drop when the flow rate increases. Due to this high tolerance to mechanical and air pressure pulses, CNB membranes are ideal for extreme environments found in vacuum applications.


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About Canatu
Canatu is a carbon nanomaterial developer creating the most advanced carbon nanotubes for industry-transforming products. The Canatu carbon nanotube (CNT) technology has been created with a unique process that ensures the required versatility and reliability for highly engineered solutions. Canatu partners with forerunner companies, together transforming products for better tomorrows with nano carbon. The company’s focus is in the automotive and semiconductor industries with the portfolio’s core spanning from ADAS heaters to 3D touch sensors and to EUV membranes. The experts at Canatu think big and create impacts on the tiniest scale – nano solutions for massive impact. Canatu’s headquarters are in Finland with sales offices also in the US, Japan and Taiwan.