A continuing goal in integrated circuit industry is to increase density of features within patterned masks. One pathway being used by the device manufacturers for patterning beyond the ~80nm pitch limitation of 193 immersion lithography is the self-aligned spacer double patterning (SADP). Two orthogonal line space patterns with subsequent SADP can be used for contact holes multiplication. However, a combination of two immersion exposures, two spacer deposition processes, and two etch processes to reach the desired dimensions makes this process expensive and complicated. One alternative technique for contact hole multiplication is the use of an array of pillar patterns. Pillars, imaged with 193 immersion photolithography, can be uniformly deposited with spacer materials until a hole is formed in the center of 4 pillars. Selective removal of the pillar core gives a reversal of phases, a contact hole where there was once a pillar. However, the highly conformal nature of conventional spacer materials causes a problem with this application. The new holes, formed between 4 pillars, by this method have a tendency to be imperfect and not circular. To improve the contact hole circularity, this paper presents the use of both conventional spacer material and soft spacer materials. Application of soft spacer materials can be achieved by an existing coating track without additional cost burden to the device manufacturers.
Jong Keun Park, Phillip D. Hustad, Emad Aqad, David Valeri, Mike D. Wagner, and Mingqi Li, "Advanced hole patterning technology using soft spacer materials (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10146, Advances in Patterning Materials and Processes XXXIV, 101461C (Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography: March 02, 2017; Published: 25 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2258667.5402356057001.
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