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CNST Nanolithography Toolbox

Cover page for Nanolithography Toolbox manual

The Nanolithography Toolbox is a platform-independent software package for scripted lithography pattern layout generation. The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed the Nanolithography Toolbox to help users of the CNST NanoFab design devices with complex curves and aggressively-scaled critical dimensions. The resulting shapes are directly streamed to the semiconductor standard graphic database system II (GDSII) files, which is a binary format representing planar geometric shapes. The Toolbox utilizes the freely-available Java based (JGDS) library for encoding shapes to GDSII objects. Using parameterized shapes as building blocks, the Nanolithography Toolbox allows users to rapidly design and layout nanoscale devices of arbitrary complexity through scripting and programming. The Toolbox offers many parameterized shapes, including structure libraries for micro- and nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS and NEMS) and nanophotonic devices. Furthermore, the Toolbox allows users to precisely define the number of vertices for each shape or create vectorized shapes using Bezier curves. Parameterized control allows user design of smooth curves with complex shapes. The Toolbox is applicable to a broad range of design tasks in the fabrication of microscale and nanoscale devices.

Acknowledgement Reference

If you developed layouts using the CNST nanolithography toolbox, please acknowledge its use by including the following reference:

[1] The Nanolithography Toolbox, K. C. Balram, D. A. Westly, M. Davanco, K. E. Grutter, Q. Li, T. Michels, C. H. Ray, L. Yu,  R. J. Kasica,  C. B. Wallin, I. J. Gilbert, B. A. Bryce, G. Simelgor, J. Topolancik, N. Lobontiu , Y. Liu, P. Neuzil, V. Svatos, K. A. Dill, N. A. Bertrand, M. G. Metzler, G. Lopez, D. A. Czaplewski, L. Ocola, K. A. Srinivasan, S. M. Stavis, V. A. Aksyuk, J. A. Liddle, S. Krylov and B. R. Ilic, J. Res. Natl. Inst. Stand. 121, pp. 464-475 (2016).

Future Developments

The CNST nanolithography toolbox is broad in scope and continuously growing within the CNST community. The toolbox is distributed with the hope that it will be useful, but without any warranty, without even an implied warranty for any particular purpose. All efforts have been made to ensure that the CNST nanolithography toolbox is supported on Linux, Windows and MacOS X. Please direct comments, suggestions, encountered bugs to The software will evolve over time, implementing features as the CNST identifies and prioritizes new applications.

Terms of Use

This software was developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by employees of the Federal Government in the course of their official duties. Pursuant to title 17 Section 105 of the United States Code this software is not subject to copyright protection and is in the public domain. The NIST CNST nanolithography toolbox is an experimental system. NIST assumes no responsibility whatsoever for its use by other parties, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic. We would appreciate acknowledgment if the software is used. This software can be redistributed and/or modified freely provided that any derivative works bear some notice that they are derived from it, and any modified versions bear some notice that they have been modified.


Created October 19, 2016, Updated November 18, 2019