A process using a bottom-side antireflective coating, AZ BARLi, has been studied for 0.50 micrometers and sub-0.5 micrometers features using I-line photolithography. Significant improvements were demonstrated for such process parameters as CD swing curve ratio, exposure latitude, and reflective notching of the photoresist. Extensive characterization was done on defects observed between the BARLi and photoresist coatings, and a process developed for their elimination. Factors which had significant effects on the observed number of defects, and their distribution, were the type of photoresist coat program used, solvent treatment of the BARLi surface, and a high temperature bake after photoresist coat. Data is presented for a complete process, which includes plasma etching the BARLi antireflective coating.