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13 March 2018 Nanoscale inhomogeneity and photoacid generation dynamics in extreme ultraviolet resist materials
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The development of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography towards the 22 nm node and beyond depends critically on the availability of resist materials that meet stringent control requirements in resolution, line edge roughness, and sensitivity. However, the molecular mechanisms that govern the structure-function relationships in current EUV resist systems are not well understood. In particular, the nanoscale structures of the polymer base and the distributions of photoacid generators (PAGs) should play a critical roles in the performance of a resist system, yet currently available models for photochemical reactions in EUV resist systems are exclusively based on homogeneous bulk models that ignore molecular-level details of solid resist films. In this work, we investigate how microscopic molecular organizations in EUV resist affect photoacid generations in a bottom-up approach that describes structure-dependent electron-transfer dynamics in a solid film model. To this end, molecular dynamics simulations and stimulated annealing are used to obtain structures of a large simulation box containing poly(4-hydroxystyrene) (PHS) base polymers and triphenylsulfonium based PAGs. Our calculations reveal that ion-pair interactions govern the microscopic distributions of the polymer base and PAG molecules, resulting in a highly inhomogeneous system with nonuniform nanoscale chemical domains. Furthermore, the theoretical structures were used in combination of quantum chemical calculations and the Marcus theory to evaluate electron transfer rates between molecular sites, and then kinetic Monte Carlo simulations were carried out to model electron transfer dynamics with molecular structure details taken into consideration. As a result, the portion of thermalized electrons that are absorbed by the PAGs and the nanoscale spatial distribution of generated acids can be estimated. Our data reveal that the nanoscale inhomogeneous distributions of base polymers and PAGs strongly affect the electron transfer and the performance of the resist system. The implications to the performances of EUV resists and key engineering requirements for improved resist systems will also be discussed in this work. Our results shed light on the fundamental structure dependence of photoacid generation and the control of the nanoscale structures as well as base polymer-PAG interactions in EVU resist systems, and we expect these knowledge will be useful for the future development of improved EUV resist systems.
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Ping-Jui Wu, Yu-Fu Wang, Wei-Chi Chen, Chien-Wei Wang, Joy Cheng, Vencent Chang, Ching-Yu Chang, John Lin, and Yuan-Chung Cheng "Nanoscale inhomogeneity and photoacid generation dynamics in extreme ultraviolet resist materials", Proc. SPIE 10586, Advances in Patterning Materials and Processes XXXV, 105861O (13 March 2018);

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