Plasmas produced from laser-irradiated gas puff xenon targets, created by pulsed injection of xenon with high-pressure solenoid valve, offer the possibility of realizing a debrisless x-ray point source for the x-ray lithography applications. In this paper we present results of the experimental investigations on the x-ray generation from a gas puff xenon target irradiated with nanosecond high-power laser pulses produced using two different laser facilities; a Nd:glass laser operating at 1.06 micrometers , which generated 10-15 J pulses in 1 ns FWHM, and Nd:glass slab laser, producing pulses of 10 ns duration with energy reaching 12 J for a 0.53 micrometers wavelength or 20 J for 1.05 micrometers . To study the x-ray emission different x-ray diagnostic methods have been used. X-ray spectra were registered using a flat CsAP crystal spectrograph with an x-ray film or a curved KAP crystal spectrograph with a convex curvature coupled to an x-ray CCD readout detector. X-ray images have been taken using pinhole cameras with an x-ray film or a CCD array. X-ray yield was measured with the use of semiconductor detectors (silicon photodiodes or diamond photoconductors).
In this paper, the effect of resist contrast on the exposure latitude, printing bias, and dark erosion are discussed in the context of proximity x-ray lithography. Positive chemically amplified resists are studied. Both experimental and simulation results show that an exposure latitude of 28% can be obtained for 0.16 micrometers dense lines and a 0.36 micrometers pitch using point source x-ray lithography with a 25 micrometers proximity gap.
Laser-design and manufacturing considerations encountered in a micro-lithography application for a solid-state laser system are considered. A solid-state laser utilized in the application incorporates a zig-zag slab laser amplifier in a master oscillator/power amplifier staging configuration that can meet specifications for reliability and performance required for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. The laser staging makes extensive use of anamorphic beam-shaping and image-relaying to extract energy from the slab amplifier efficiently. The mechanical design of the laser structure employs multiple angularly multiplexed beams through a single-slab amplifier in order to minimize the total system volume. Relay spatial filters and maintenance issues are reviewed.