This work focuses on the application of a high-speed atomic force microscope (HS-AFM) for the in situ observation / quantification of the resist dissolution process. Specifically, this paper discusses on the existence of what the authors refer to as “nano-swelling” which occurs in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) exposed areas of a positive-tone chemically amplified resist, just before it dissolves into the aqueous tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) developer solution. In earlier experiments using typical EUVL resist materials (e.g. polyhydroxystyrene (PHS) polymer and hybrid PHS-methacryl polymer model resists), it was understood that nano-swelling is mainly material type-dependent. As shown in the investigations/results in this paper, nano-swelling has variations in the timing of occurrence and amount/size depending on the size of the dissolvable areas (i.e. larger dissolvable areas dissolve faster, swell more compared to smaller ones). Lastly, a comparison of surface analyses results of a resist pattern before, during, and after the occurrence of nano-swelling suggests the significant impact of these kinds of non-uniformities in the formation of line edge/line width roughness (LER/LWR).
Julius Joseph Santillan and Toshiro Itani, "An investigation on "nano-swelling" phenomenon during resist dissolution using in situ high-speed atomic force microscopy," Proc. SPIE 10146, Advances in Patterning Materials and Processes XXXIV, 101460C (Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography: February 28, 2017; Published: 5 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2257835.
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