Directed self-assembly (DSA) of block copolymers (BCPs) is a lithographic technique that is expected to be mutually complimentary with ArF immersion lithography, EUV lithography, electron beam direct writing, or nanoimprint for sub-15 nm line patterning and sub-20 nm contact hole patterning. Defect mitigation is the primary challenge behind the use of DSA lithography in practical applications in advanced semiconductor device manufacturing. Therefore, resolve this issue, defect dynamics needs to be clarified using in-situ measurements of self-assembling processes of BCPs in conjunction with modeling approaches.
In this work, the evolution of a surface morphology in self-assembling processes of BCPs during annealing was investigated using in-situ atomic force microscope (AFM).5 A JPK NanoWizard ULTRA Speed AFM (JPK Instruments AG) under AC mode (lock-in phase signal image) was employed to carry out in-situ measurements of self-assembling of symmetrical polystyrene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PMMA) thin films with a thickness of 40 nm, and a domain spacing 30 nm domain spacing (L0) of 30 nm on a 5 nm thick neutral layer (PS-r-PMMA) during the thermal annealing process starting from a disordered as-cast state. The COOrdinated Line epitaxy (COOL) process was applied to provide DSA line multiplication patterns as hybrid guide patterns which act as chemical and physical epitaxy process.
The in-situ observation approach of the surface morphology during micro-phase separation process revealed the defect generation and rectification processes in DSA thin films. A combination of the time development data in the in-situ AFM and grazing-incidence small-angle X-ray scattering (GI-SAXS) will also be discussed to develop a kinetic modeling for predicting dynamical changes in the three-dimensional nanostructures.
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