Bilayer thin film imaging is one approach to extend 248 nm optical lithography to 150 nm regime and beyond. In this paper, we report our progress in the development of a positive-tone bilayer resist system consisting of a thin silicon containing imaging layer over a recently developed crosslinked polymeric underlayer. The chemically amplified imaging layer resist is based on a novel dual-functional silicon containing monomer, tris(trimethylsilyl)silylethyl methacrylate, which in addition to providing etch resistance, also functions as the acid sensitive functionality. The stabilization of (beta) -silyl carboncation by silicon allows this moiety to serve as an acid sensitive protecting group. Thus high silicon content and high resist contrast are achieved simultaneously. Lithographic evaluation of the bilayer resist with a 0.63 NA and a 0.68 NA 248 nm exposure tool has demonstrated resolution down to 125 nm equal line/space features with a dose latitude of 16 percent and depth of focus (DOF) of 0.6 um. The dose latitude and DOF for 150 nm equal line/space features are 22 percent and 1.2 um, respectively. Finally, residue-free, ultra-high aspect ratio resist features have been obtained by O2 or O2/SO2 reactive ion etching using a high-density plasma etch system. The resist design, deprotection chemistry, lithographic and etch characteristics of the top layer, as well as the design of the new underlay, will be discussed.