Automated nanoscale absolute accuracy alignment system for transfer printing

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The heterogeneous integration of micro and nanoscale devices with on-chip circuits and waveguide platforms is a key enabling technology, with wide-ranging applications in areas including telecommunications, quantum information processing and sensing. Pick and place integration with absolute positional accuracy at the nanoscale has been previously demonstrated for single proof of principle devices. However, to enable scaling of this technology for realisation of multi-element systems, or high throughput manufacturing, the integration process must be compatible with automation whilst retaining nanoscale accuracy. In this work, an automated transfer printing process is realised using a simple optical microscope, computer vision and high accuracy translational stage system. Automatic alignment using a cross-correlation image processing method demonstrates absolute positional accuracy of transfer with an average offset of < 40 nm (3σ < 390 nm) for serial device integration of both thin film silicon membranes and single nanowire devices. Parallel transfer of devices across a 2 x 2 mm2 area is demonstrated with an average offset of < 30 nm (3σ < 705 nm). Rotational accuracy better than 45 mrad is achieved for all device variants. Devices can be selected and placed with high accuracy on a target substrate, both from lithographically defined positions on their native substrate, or from a randomly distributed population. These demonstrations pave the way for future scalable manufacturing of heterogeneously integrated chip systems.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Early online date23 Sep 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Sep 2020


  • hybrid integration
  • micro assembly
  • precision alignment
  • transfer printing
  • integrated optics
  • nanophotonics

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