Maskless lithography using parallel electron beamlets is a promising solution for next generation scalable maskless nanolithography. Researchers have focused on this goal but have been unable to find a robust technology to generate and control high-quality electron beamlets with satisfactory brightness and uniformity.
In this work, we will aim to address this challenge by developing a revolutionary surface-plasmon-enhanced-photoemission (SPEP) technology to generate massively-parallel electron beamlets for maskless nanolithography. The new technology is built upon our recent breakthroughs in plasmonic lenses, which will be used to excite and focus surface plasmons to generate massively-parallel electron beamlets through photoemission. Specifically, the proposed SPEP device consists of an array of plasmonic lens and electrostatic micro-lens pairs, each pair independently producing an electron beamlet. During lithography, a spatial optical modulator will dynamically project light onto individual plasmonic lenses to control the switching and brightness of electron beamlets. The photons incident onto each plasmonic lens are concentrated into a diffraction-unlimited spot as localized surface plasmons to excite the local electrons to near their vacuum levels. Meanwhile, the electrostatic micro-lens extracts the excited electrons to form a focused beamlet, which can be rastered across a wafer to perform lithography. Studies showed that surface plasmons can enhance the photoemission by orders of magnitudes. This SPEP technology can scale up the maskless lithography process to write at wafers per hour. In this talk, we will report the mechanism of the strong electron-photon couplings and the locally enhanced photoexcitation, design of a SPEP device, overview of our proof-of-concept study, and demonstrated parallel lithography of 20-50 nm features.
Zhidong Du, Chen Chen, and Liang Pan, "Progress on complementary patterning using plasmon-excited electron beamlets (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10144, Emerging Patterning Technologies, 101440K (Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography: March 01, 2017; Published: 27 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2258163.5402270321001.
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