In this paper, we focus on the most critical layer of a sub-20nm technology node LSI device, and present an improved method for characterizing both lithographic and post-patterning defectivity performance of state-of-the-art immersion photoresists. Multiple formulations from different suppliers were used and compared. Photoresists were tested under various process conditions, and multiple lithographic metrics were investigated (depth of focus, exposure dose latitude, line width roughness, etc.). Results were analyzed and combined using an innovative approach based on advanced software, providing clearer results than previously available. This increased detail enables more accurate performance comparisons among the different photoresists. Post-patterning defectivity was also quantified, with defects reviewed and classified using state-of-the-art inspection tools.
Correlations were established between the lithographic and post-patterning defectivity performances for each material, and overall ranking was established among the photoresists, enabling the selection of the best performer for implementation in a high volume manufacturing environment.