Recent chemically amplified resists used for Negative Tone Development (NTD) processes exhibit a significant amount of resist shrinkage during post-exposure-bake (PEB). Some NTD resists show up to 25% thickness loss during PEB in the exposed regions. A detailed analysis of this and other experimental observations is published elsewhere.1 In particular, it has also been demonstrated that the shrinkage during PEB can have a strong impact on both, the CDs and the resist profile shapes which are formed after Negative Tone Development. We therefore highlight the necessity to augment physical modeling of the PEB process step for these NTD photoresists. To account for the shrinkage process during PEB in lithography simulations we start with the following modeling assumptions: The tendency for shrinkage is due to the collapse of the void space (free volume) which is formed after evaporation of the volatile byproduct of the de-protection reaction. However, this will not only induce a (vertical) resist height loss but causes also lateral displacements inside the resist. This yields distorted concentration profiles of all the species that are typically tracked during PEB simulations. In particular, a distorted degree of protection after PEB will result in resist profiles with tilted sidewall angles and changed CDs. As will be shown these effects are strongly pitch-dependent and must be accounted for in a physical simulation approach as well as in OPC modeling. In this work, we discuss our simulation approach to account for mechanical deformations. Using exemplary simulations, we determine the impact of the main effects which are captured by the model. In order to validate the simulation model, the simulated effect of shrinkage-induced mechanical deformations during PEB on CDs and on resist profiles is compared with experimental data.
Thomas Mülders, Hans-Jürgen Stock, Bernd Küchler, Ulrich Klostermann, Weimin Gao, and Wolfgang Demmerle, "Modeling of NTD resist shrinkage," Proc. SPIE 10146, Advances in Patterning Materials and Processes XXXIV, 101460M (Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography: March 01, 2017; Published: 27 March 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2257909.
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