Roll-to-roll imprinting implements the advantages of nanoimprinting and hot embossing into a high volume production platform on large rolls of polymer thin film. Both imprinting into thermoplastic materials and UV curable materials are used in roll-to-roll setups.
One of the main challenges with roll-to-roll imprinting is to make the cylindrical shaped molds. For imprinting into thin thermoplastic films, typically 50-100 µm thick, nickel shims are made by nickel electroplating from a planar master and subsequently bent around a cylindrical drum. For imprinting into a UV curable material on a carrier polymer film where a transparent mold drum is required, the cylindrical mold is typically made by bending a thin polymer stamp around the transparent drum.
Roll-to-roll tools can today produce more than 5 m of imprinted polymer thin film per minute with a resolution below 100 nm.