Nanolithosolutions Inc. will develop a tool module that fits into a mask aligner to perform imprint lithography, the company said Thursday (May 3). The Carlsbad, Calif.-based company becomes Hewlett-Packard Co.'s first licensee for its nanoimprint lithography technology. Imprint lithography is based on the ancient art of embossing, adapted to nanoscale patterning of semiconductor wafers. A circuit pattern is embossed into a silicon dioxide "stamp," which is then stepped and pressed into a prepared layer on a silicon substrate. After that, illumination by an ultraviolet flash hardens the layer into the nanoscale circuit pattern, which then can be fabricated into devices using conventional CMOS etching and deposition. Nanolithosolutions' tool for nanoimprint lithography will fit into a standard mask aligner, permitting a stamp to be stepped across a wafer to reproduce the fine-line geometries of circuits too small to be created with traditional photolithographic techniques. In essence, the tool transforms commonly used mask aligners into a maskless nanoscale imprint lithography production tool.