EUV lithography utilizes photons with 91.6 eV energy to ionize resists, generate secondary electrons, and enable electron driven reactions that produce acid in chemically amplified photoresist. Efficiently using the available photons is of key importance. Unlike DUV lithography, where photons are selectively utilized by photoactive compounds, photons at 13.5nm wavelength ionize almost all materials. Nevertheless, specific elements have a significantly higher atomic photon-absorption cross section at 91.6 eV. To increase photon absorption, sensitizer molecules, containing highly absorbing elements, can be added to photoresist formulations. These sensitizers have gained growing attention in recent years, showing significant sensitivity improvement. But there are few experimental evidences that the sensitivity improvement is due to the higher absorption only, as adding metals salts into the resist formulation can induce other mechanisms, like modification of the dissolution rate, potentially affecting patterning performance. In this work, we used different sensitizers in chemically amplified resist. We measured experimentally the absorption of EUV light, the acid yield, the dissolution rate and the patterning performance of the resists. Surprisingly, the absorption of EUV resist was decreased with addition of metal salt sensitizers. Nevertheless, the resist with sensitizer showed a higher acid yield. Sensitizer helps achieving higher PAG conversion to acid, notably due to an increase of the secondary electron generation. Patterning data confirm a significant sensitivity improvement, but at the cost of roughness degradation at high sensitizer loading. This can be explained by the chemical distribution of the sensitizer in the resist combined with a modification of the dissolution contrast, as observed by Dissolution Rate Monitor.
Yannick Vesters, Jing Jiang, Hiroki Yamamoto, Danilo De Simone, Takahiro Kozawa, Stefan De Gendt, and Geert Vandenberghe, "Sensitizers in EUV chemically amplified resist: mechanism of sensitivity improvement," Proc. SPIE 10583, Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography IX, 1058307 (Presented at SPIE Advanced Lithography: February 26, 2018; Published: 19 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2297627.
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