The trend of ever decreasing feature sizes in subsequent lithography generations is paralleled by the need to reduce resist
thickness to prevent pattern collapse. Thinner films limit the ability to transfer the pattern to the substrate during etch
steps, obviating the need for a hardmask layer and thus increasing processing costs. For the 22 nm node, the critical
aspect ratio will be less than 2:1, meaning 40-45 nm thick resists will be commonplace. To address this problem, we
have developed new inorganic nanocomposite photoresists with significantly higher etch resistance than the usual
polymer-based photoresists. Hafnium oxide nanoparticles are used as a core to build the inorganic nanocomposite into an
imageable photoresist. During the sol-gel processing of nanoparticles, a variety of organic ligands can be used to control
the surface chemistry of the final product. The different ligands on the surface of the nanoparticles give them unique
properties, allowing these films to act as positive or negative tone photoresists for 193 nm or electron beam lithography.
The development of such an inorganic resist can provide several advantages to conventional chemically amplified resist
(CAR) systems. Beyond the etch resistance of the material, several other advantages exist, including improved depth of
focus (DOF) and reduced line edge roughness (LER). This work will show etch data on a material that is ~3 times more
etch-resistant than a PHOST standard. The refractive index of the resist at 193 nm is about 2.0, significantly improving
the DOF. Imaging data, including cross-sections, will be shown for 60 nm lines/spaces (l/s) for 193 nm and e-beam
lithography. Further, images and physical characteristics of the materials will be provided in both positive and negative
tones for 193 nm and e-beam lithography.