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LIGA process

Recent updates
X-ray lenses: compound refractive lens (CRL). User publication list (excerpts) added! (7.2020)
LIGA: micro fabrication process with X-ray lithography and electroplating. User publication list (excerpts) added! (6.2020)
X-ray gratings for Talbot interferometry. User publication list (excerpts) added! (6.2020)

Meet us at:
XNPIG International Conference on X-ray and Neutron Phase Imaging with Gratings
20-24.10.2019, Sendai International Center, Sendai, Japan
NSRRC Users' Meeting and Workshop
17-20.9.2019, NSRRC, Hsinchu, Taiwan

High-precision microstructures made with X-ray and electroplating: LIGA

KIT/IMT and microworks GmbH are two of the world's top authorities in the fabrication of high aspect ratio polymer and metal structures using X-ray lithography and electroplating techniques. With these techniques, LIGA Process, for example X-ray gratings with both a narrow period and high aspect ratio and X-ray focusing lenses as well as micro gears in metal, and high aspect ratio apertures for optical applications have been realised.

1. LIGA process



X-ray mask fabrication

At first an X-ray mask is made with resist drawn with e-beam or laser, followed by gold electroplating as X-ray absorber. For high contrast structures, an additional high contrast mask is required.



X-ray lithography (Lithographie)
Precision structures drawn on the X-ray mask above are copied on the resist on the substrate. Thanks to parallel X-ray beam provided by the synchrotron radiation facility KARA (formerly ANKA), high aspect ratio with smooth side walls are realised.



Electroplating (Galvanoformung)
Metal parts with high precision structures with a high aspect ratio are realised with electroplating done between the precision resist gaps made with X-ray lithography.



Polymer moulding (Abformung)
To copy the precision structures on polymer substrates, mould inserts for injection moulding and hot-embossing could be made using the process above. This allows for realising precisely replicated micro polymer structures.


2. LIGA application examples
Microstructured polymer and metal parts made by the LIGA process in Karlsruhe have various applications for example in the X-ray optic fields, both in research institutes and industries.



X-ray gratings for Talbot interferometry
High aspect ratio absorption gratings, narrow period phase gratings / absorption gratings for a multi-modal X-ray contrast imaging method called the Talbot interferometer.
Link to X-ray gratings



X-ray focusing Compound refractive lens, CRL
Compound refractive lenses (CRLs) used at e.g. SPring-8 to focus monochromatic hard X-ray down to a submicron focus spot size.
Link to X-ray lenses



Micro through-holes (X-ray apertures)
(a) Multi holes / X-ray multi-collimator
Multiple through-holes with a diameter of e.g. 3.0 µm on gold membrane (thickness 80 µm). Application: X-ray multi-collimator for space science.

(b) Single through-hole (X-ray aperture)
High aspect ratio through-hole with a diameter of 5 µm in the centre of 200 µm thick gold plate.
Application: X-ray aperture at a synchrotron radiation beam line



Micro gears 1
Application: watch gears
Micro metal structures made with X-ray lithography followed by electroplating. High precision aperture structures in gold and Nickel.

Scale bar (yellow line): 1 mm



Micro gears 2

Application: High precision micro-manipulators
Harmonic drive gear train
- High transmission ratio
- No backlash



High aspect ratio through-holes in nickel

Application: Apertures for hyperspectral camera
- 2.5 µm gap, structure depth 180 µm
- Reduction of keystone and smile

Reference: A Fridman et al. "Measurements of the performance of the light mixing chambers in the mixel camera", Optics Express 23(10):13659, 2015



X-ray test apertures

Application: Knife edge measurement of synchrotron X-ray beam
Structures: Gold membrane of 30 µm thickness with various square apertures (5 to 1,000 µm side lengths)

3. Manufactures


The LIGA process is a fabrication process of high aspect ratio microstructures made in metal and polymer, which was first invented by and has been developed at the German institute, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) / IMT. Commercialisation of such parts have been realised by its spin-off company microworks GmbH based in the KIT campus, whose local distributor in Japan, Korea and Taiwan is ASICON Tokyo Ltd.


Synchrotron facility KARA (formerly ANKA)

放射光施設 ANKA

LIGA I,II,III: X-ray lithography

PDIFF: XRPD

TOPO: X-ray topo

... in total 15 beam lines in operation


Hot-embossing machine at KIT/IMT

ホットエンボス装置

Structure height: 1 to 2,000 µm

Substrate size: up to 8 inch

Aspect ratio: ~20

4. Publications by users of micro precision parts fabricated with LIGA technology (excerpts)

(a) X-ray apertures (multi-through-hole collimator) for astrophysics by microworks GmbH
▶「宇宙X線観測用SOIピクセル検出器内部における電荷雲形状の測定」,児嶌優一,平賀純子,鶴剛 20p-B301-3, The 65th JSAP Spring Meeting, 2018 (応用物理学会,2018年春)
▶Subpixel response of SOI pixel sensor for X-ray astronomy with pinned depleted diode: first result from mesh experiment. K Kayama et al., The 9th International Workshop on Semiconductor Pixel Detectors for Particles and Imaging (PIXEL 2018)
▶「メッシュ実験による次世代X線天文用SOIピクセル検出器のサブピクセル性能の研究」,佳山一帆 京都大学大学院 修士論文 2020年3月


(b) X-ray gratings for Talbot / Talbot-Lau interferometry by microworks GmbH
[Medical applications]
▶X-ray dark-field imaging of the human lung - A feasibility study on a deceased body. K Willer et al., PLoS One. 2018; 13(9): e0204565
▶Depiction of pneumothoraces in a large animal model using x-ray dark-field radiography. K Hellbach, A Baehr, F De Marco et al., Sci Rep 8, 2602 (2018)
▶A preclinical Talbot-Lau prototype for x‐ray dark‐field imaging of human‐sized objects. C Hauke et al., Med. Phys. 45 (6), June 2018

[Industrial applications]
▶Laboratory-based X-ray phase-imaging scanner using Talbot-Lau interferometer for non-destructive testing. Shivaji Bachche et al., Scientific Reports volume 7, Article number: 6711 (2017)
▶System design and evaluation of a compact and high energy X-ray Talbot-Lau grating interferometer for industrial applications. Lee, S., Oh, O., Kim, Y. et al., J. Korean Phys. Soc. 73, 1827-1833 (2018)
▶Multi-modal Talbot-Lau grating interferometer XCT data for the characterization of carbon fibre reinforced polymers with metal components. C Gusenbauer et al., Conference on Industrial Computed Tomography (iCT) 2017

[Astrophysics]
▶Sub-arcsecond imaging with multi-image X-ray interferometer module (MIXIM) for very small satellite. Kiyoshi Hayashida et al., Proc. of SPIE Vol. 10699 106990U-1
▶「サブ秒角撮像を目指すX線多重像干渉計MIXIMの基礎開発」,川端智樹, 大阪大学大学院 修士論文 2018年2月
▶Sub-arcsecond to micro-arcsecond resolution X-ray imaging of SMBH with a novel method MIXIM, Kiyoshi Hayashida et al., AGN Jet Workshop, 2020
(c) Compound refractive lenses (CRL) by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) / IMT
▶[BL03XU] Large apparent internal deformation of carbon fibres under tension observed by in-situ microbeam small-angle X-ray scattering. H Okuda et al., Carbon 157, 2020, 295-297
▶[BL09XU] X-ray pumping of the 229Th nuclear clock isomer. T Masuda et al., Nature volume 573, pages 238–242 (2019)
▶[BL10XU] New developments in high-pressure X-ray diffraction beamline for diamond anvil cell at SPring-8. N Hirao et al., Matter and Radiation at Extremes 5, 018403 (2020)
▶[BL10XU] Equation of State of Liquid Iron under Extreme Conditions. Y Kuwayama et al., Physical Review Letters 124, 165701 (2020)
▶[BL13XU] Ferroelastic domain motion by pulsed electric field in (111)/(111¯) rhombohedral epitaxial Pb(Zr0.65Ti0.35)O3 thin films: Fast switching and relaxation. Y Ehara, et al., Phys. Rev. B, 100, 10416 (2019)
▶[BL13XU and 15XU] Charge screening strategy for domain pattern control in nano-scale ferroelectric systems. T Yamada et al., Sci. Rep. 7, 5236 (2017)
▶[BL15XU] Time-resolved X-ray diffraction system for study of Pb(Zr, Ti)O3 films under a temporal electric field at BL15XU, SPring-8. O Seo et al., Rev. Sci. Instrum. 90, 093001 (2019)
▶[BL22XU] Development of an apparatus for Bragg coherent X-ray diffraction imaging, and its application to the three dimensional imaging of BaTiO3 nano-crystals. K Ohwada et al., Japanese Journal of Applied Physics 58, SLLA05 (2019) 58 SLLA05
▶[BL22XU] Improving Fatigue Performance of Laser-Welded 2024-T3 Aluminum Alloy Using Dry Laser Peening. T Sano et al., Metals, 9, 1192, 2019
▶[BL24XU]「樹脂射出成形品の板厚断面方向の結晶化度分布解析」舟本三恵 他, 兵庫県ビームライン年報・成果集 Vol. 5, 6, pp.33-36, 2017
▶[BL39XU]「X線屈折レンズとKBミラーによる二段階ナノ集光光学系の開発」鈴木基寛 他, SPring-8/SACLA 利用研究成果集 Vol. 8 No. 1
▶[BL41XU] Low-dose X-ray structure analysis of cytochrome c oxidase utilizing high-energy X-rays. G Ueno et al., J. Synchrotron Rad. (2019). 26, 912-921
▶[BL43LXU] X-ray Phase-Contrast Imaging and Metrology through Unified Modulated Pattern. MC Zdora et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 203903 (2017)