7 March 2014 Calibrating bimetallic grayscale photomasks to photoresist response for precise micro-optics fabrication
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Abstract
Microfabricating high resolution micro-optics structures requires shape control to <1/8th wavelength (~60nm) in both vertical and horizontal surface precision. Grayscale bimetallic photomasks are bi-layer thermal resists consisting of two thin layers of Bi-on-Indium or Tin-on-Indium. A focused laser spot creates a thermal metal oxide with a controllably transparency set by the beam power of optical density from ~3OD (unexposed) to <0.22OD (fully exposed). A directwrite raster-scan photomask laser system with a CW Argon-ion laser at 514nm for the bimetallic writing and 457nm line for measuring the OD change used a feedback-controlled Gaussian beam to achieve 256-level grayscale masks. Setting the graylevels required to achieve uniform vertical steps in the photoresist requires adjustment in transparency based on the exact response curves of a given resist/development process. An initial model is developed using the classic resist threshold dose exposure D0 and dose to clear Dc creating a power law relation between the required exposure dose for each thickness step and the mask transparency. However real resists behave differently than the simple model near the threshold requiring careful calibrating of mask graylevel transparencies with the photoresist response curve for a given resist/development process. Test structures ranging from steps to ramps and complex patterns were examined via both SEM and profilometry from the resulting bimetallic grayscale masks. Secondary corrections modify the needed bimetallic OD due to the exposure source spectrum differences from the 457nm measurement. This enhances the patterning of micro-optic and 3D MEMS structures.
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Glenn H. Chapman, Reza Qarehbaghi, Santiago Roche, "Calibrating bimetallic grayscale photomasks to photoresist response for precise micro-optics fabrication", Proc. SPIE 8973, Micromachining and Microfabrication Process Technology XIX, 897307 (7 March 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2041429; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2041429
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