In this paper we investigate fundamental resist properties to enhance resolution and focus margin for immersion
contact hole patterning. Basic chemistry factors have been used to manipulate the iso-focal region (the region of
smallest critical dimension variation through focus) of the photoresist and study the impact on resolution and focus
margin for small isolated contact holes. Acid diffusion length is one of the key factors investigated, which can be
controlled by polymer, PAG, quencher, bake temperature and bake time. The various criteria investigated for this study
were: focus and exposure latitude for dense L/S, dense C/H and semi-dense C/H. The effect of manipulating the acid diffusion of the photoresist on imaging small contact holes was verified using ultra-high NA immersion imaging at 1.35
The weaker etch resistance of 193 nm resists<sup>1</sup> is raising questions concerning their usability for the coming nodes as a single layer resist. We have found that 193 nm positive tone resists, that have been designed<sup>2</sup> incorporating etch resistant groups like adamantyl or isobornyl<sup>3-7</sup>, exhibit chemical modifications concerning these grafted functions while undergoing an oxide etch step. Previously performed experiments have pointed out that the photoacid generator (PAG) that is still contained in the unexposed regions of the sacrificial layer might be a reason for the modifications in the chemical buildup of this resists. Therefore, this work has focused on evaluating the impact of reactive ion oxide etching<sup>8-10</sup> on 193nm materials, for positive and negative tone chemically amplified resists. We used Thermo Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), Fourier Transformed Infra Red Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) in order to check model formulations based on PHS, methacrylate or cyclic olefin polymers with various protecting groups having different activation energies and formulated with or without PAG and in order to understand the impact of the photoactive compound in the resist degradation behavior during plasma etch.