A special UV curing process which employs an ammonia blanketing gas was investigated to determine if a reduction in chemically amplified photoresist loss cold be attained in oxide, polysilicon, and metal plasma etch processes. In addition, a reduction in film shrinkage was sought relative to curing processes, which do not employ a basic gas during the stabilization process. Representative commercially available 248 nm chemically amplified photoresists from the t-BOC, acetal, and ESCAP families were included in this study. These studies were limited to unpatterned resist films and were conducted with an H-mod bulb, having a wavelength cut-off of 250 nm. The parameters varied in this study included UV irradiation intensity, process time, and temperature. Film shrinkage, refractive index, FTIR spectral changes, dissolution properties in an alkaline developer, and etch rate properties in fluorocarbon and chlorine based plasmas were measured. It was demonstrated that the ammonia- based photostabilization process result in less film shrinkage than the corresponding process with no basic purge gas. Evidence is provided that cross linking result from the UV curing process. The photostabilization process has been optimized for a number of photoresists to minimize the film shrinkage resulting from photostabilization and to significantly reduce the plasma etch rate. Benefits are shown to be greater for low activation energy and t-BOC type resists.