In the design and fabrication of arrayed opto-electronic detection devices, it is critical to provide optical
isolation between the individual array cells to prevent optical crosstalk between channels and contribution
from stray light that would otherwise result in degraded signal-to-noise performance. To accomplish this,
the light incident between the cells' optical apertures and around the periphery of the array must be blocked
from entering the active semiconductor layers. One approach has been to use an opaque layer of metal, but
this can lead to reflections and light trapping and ultimate absorption of this stray light in device active
regions. Another approach is to use an absorbing material to block stray light. DARC300, a registered
trademark of Brewer Science, is an optically absorbing, photo-definable polyimide designed for exactly this
purpose. Presented here are the results of the DARC300 blocking layers, including a review of the process
development and issues addressed along the way. The most prevalent issues with the DARC300 were the
remnants of black pigments after develop, and the insufficiently developed features. A normalized spectral
response of a 4-channel, fixed cavity, Fabry-Perot micro spectrometers, with and without the optical
blocking layer between cells and around the periphery of the array are shown to greatly enhance device performance with the use of the DARC300 layer.
For the first time, electrically testable snake and comb structures were used to quantitatively characterize the defectivity
associated with imprint lithography, specifically with Step and Flash Imprint Lithography. Whereas the overall yield for
quarter micron optically-patterned snakes was found to be approximately 95%, the corresponding value for imprinted
snakes was about 84%. The yield of imprinted snakes was found to fall rapidly with decreasing feature size. For example, the yield of 1:5 50 nm short snakes was only about 55%. Complementary optical inspection suggested feature pullout (release agent failure and mechanical layer separation) was a prevailing occurrence. Qualitatively, defects were binned into four primary, broad categories: self-cleaning template defects; non self-cleaning template defects; imprint-impeding
defects; and template damaging defects. Additionally, the template cleaning process employed was found to
be fairly efficient at removing particles, particularly when considering defects at the larger feature sizes. There is no
doubt that the control of defectivity will be the next large hurdle that will challenge imprint lithography as it strives to
make inroads in manufacturing arenas. Finally, a future study is planned with improved etch barrier and transfer layers.
Nano-imprint technology has demonstrated the potential for a low-cost, high-throughput Next Generation Lithography (NGL) method extendable to ultra-fine geometry requirements. Although the development of nano-imprinting lithography has been focused on semiconductor applications, the technology could provide a pathway for non-semiconductor-related applications as well. Examples of technologies that may benefit from this nano-imprint are high-density drives and other stand-alone memories, organic and flexible electronics, photonics, nanoelectronics, biotechnology, etc. With the rapid advances in these industries, the need for sub-nanometer features to drive performance and innovation, while maintaining cost, is to be expected. Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL<sup>TM</sup>) is one of several cost-effective imprinting technologies being pursued for sub-100 nm resolution. In demonstrating successful final pattern transfer of features less than 45 nm, S-FIL has sparked some interest as a viable alternative to other NGL methods. Unlike optical-based lithography, imprint utilizes the basic concept of contact printing, and therefore, does not require expensive optics and complex resist material to create images. Thus, the cost of ownership for nano-imprint lithography compared with other optical-based NLGs could provide solutions for many applications. Improvements made in S-FIL in the areas of material dispensing and refinement of the etch barrier (EB) have resulted in more uniform printing while producing a thinner residual layer. These improvements, coupled with changes to the etch processes have enabled pattern transfer with minimal critical dimension (CD) loss. This paper will describe both the new imprinting results and pattern transfer to demonstrate sub-45nm features. CD bias at each of the process steps will also be discussed. Examples of sub-45 nm (1:3) line/space features post imprint and final pattern transfer into oxide will be shown.
In order for Step and Flash Imprint Lithography S-FIL or any other imprint lithography to become truly viable for manufacturing, certain elements of the infrastructure must be present. In particular, these elements include; fast and precise Electron Beam (E-beam) pattern writing, ability to inspect, and a methodology to repair. The focus of this paper will be to investigate repair of clear and opaque defects on S-FIL templates using Focused Ion Beam (FIB) and Electron beam technologies. During this study, FEI's Accura XT FIB mask repair system was used to selectively mill opaque line edge defects as small as 45 nm in the Cr-based and 30 nm in the quartz-based patterns. Repairs to the Cr pattern achieved a placement offset of 8.8 nm with a one sigma value of 11.4 nm. Additionally, a series of trench cuts were made perpendicular through line segments to determine the minimum cut resolution. In an effort to repair clear defects within chrome patterns, studies were performed to deposit carbon or a proprietary metallization using either FEI's FIB platform or E-beam mask repair research tool. This paper will discuss the repair strategy used and include characterization of repairs through Scanning Electronic Microscopy (SEM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) imaging. Furthermore, repair efficiency was determined by assessing the ability of the repair to hold up through the remainder of the template fabrication process and ultimately pattern transfer of imprinted features.
Along with other Next Generation Lithography (NGL) methods, imprint lithography has been included on the International Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) for the 32 nm node, predicted to be production-ready by 20131. Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL) is one of the imprinting technologies being pursued due to its impressive imprinting capabilities, where imprinted features of less than 30 nm have been demonstrated. Unlike optical-based lithography, S-FIL uses techniques similar to that of contact printing, and thereby does not require complex and expensive optics and light sources to create images. Couple this with a reliable pattern transfer, and S-FIL could become a contender as a viable NGL technology. Similar to other imprint lithography systems, S-FIL printed features possess a residual layer several hundred angstroms thick, which requires a breakthrough etch prior to etching a subsequent layer. Of a greater concern, however, is the etch barrier used as the imaging layer for S-FIL. The present silicon content is limited to approximately nine percent, and the formulation is optimized for dispensing and achieving mechanical properties for the imprinting process. As a result, oxygen-based plasmas typically used for pattern transferring more conventional bi-layer structures are not compatible with the current S-FIL resist stack, and therefore pose a challenge from an etch perspective. The development of a recent etch process incorporating an ammonia-based plasma was a key enabler for pattern transfer, and ongoing development is being done to improve critical dimensions (CD). In this study, we examined a lift-off process using S-FIL. The material stacks with and without a "glue" layer will be discussed, and the challenges from imprinting to etch will be shared. Finally, the lift-off process will be used to demonstrate fabrication of a surface acoustic wave (SAW) device in addition to demonstrating patterning of a non-reactive metallization scheme such as Ti/Au.
Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL) is an attractive method for printing sub-100 nm geometries. Relative to other imprinting processes S-FIL has the advantage that the template is transparent, thereby facilitating conventional overlay techniques. Previous work on S-FIL templates has focused on a chromium and quartz pattern transfer process that is compatible with processes that are currently used in mask shops. It is likely that 1X templates will require electron beam inspection, however, and templates that include buried charge conduction layers may be required. The purpose of this work was to investigate the issues associated with fabricating and inspecting these types of templates. The patterning stack examined included a layer of ZEP520A positive electron beam resist, followed by thin layers of chromium, silicon oxynitride, and indium tin oxide. The chromium layer was needed to avoid laser height sensor problems encountered prior to electron beam exposure. The pattern transfer process was characterized, and CD uniformity was characterized in four quadrants of the photoplate. A prototype electron beam inspection system was then used to inspect an array of programmed defect patterns. Two methods for fabricating templates were considered.
Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL) is one of several new methods of imprint lithography being actively developed. As with other nanoimprint methods, S-FIL resolution appears to be limited only by template resolution, and offers a significant cost of ownership reduction when compared to other NGL methods such as EUVL and 157 nm lithography. Market segments capable of being addressed with S-FIL technology include nanodevice fabrication, compound semiconductors, photonic and optical devices, data storage, and advanced packaging. Successful implementation will require a commercial supplier of S-FIL tools, as well as an infrastructure that will support fabrication of the necessary 1X templates. The Imprio 100, manufactured by Molecular Imprints, Inc. is the first commercially available S-FIL tool. The purpose of this paper is to describe the performance and capabilities of the Imprio 100.
Performance related to several tool parameters including layer-to-layer overlay, pre-aligner precision, residual layer thickness and uniformity, resolution, wafer throughput, and exposure lamp intensity uniformity was evaluated. Several spin-coatable organic materials were evaluated for their efficacy as transfer layers. Contact angle analysis of each material along with a comparison of the spread time and resulting residual layer, and overall resolution using each material was also done. This paper will present the results of both the factory and site acceptance tests, and will also cover the imprinting capability of the tool.
Recently, the International Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) has included imprint lithography on its roadmap, to be ready for production use in 2013 at the 32 nm node. Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL<sup>TM</sup>) is one of the promising new methods of imprint lithography being actively developed. Since S-FIL is a 1X printing technique, fabrication of templates is especially critical. S-FIL has previously demonstrated the ability to reliably print high resolution line/space and contact hole features into a silicon-rich etch barrier material. Beyond printing with S-FIL however, there is the requirement to develop low or zero bias, high selectivity dry etch processes needed to transfer printed images into the substrate. In this study, the feasibility and methodology of imprinting sub-80 nm contacts, and pattern transferring this image into an underlying oxide layer is demonstrated. Critical parameters such as e-beam dose and etch biases associated with template pillar fabrication, and biases associated with pattern transfer processes for sub-80 nm 1:1 and 1:2 pitch contacts are discussed. Wafer imprinting was done on 200 mm wafers using Molecular Imprints Inc., Imprio 100<sup>TM</sup> system.
Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (SFIL) is a revolutionary next generation lithography option that has become increasingly attractive in recent years. Elimination of the costly optics of current step and scan imaging tools makes SFIL a serious candidate for large-scale commercial patterning of critical dimensions below ~50 nm. This work focuses on the kinetics of the UV curing of the liquid etch barrier and the resulting densification/contraction of the etch barrier as it solidifies during this step. Previous experimental work in our group has measured the bulk densification of several etch barrier formulations, typically about 9 % (v/v). It remains unknown, however, how much etch barrier contraction occurs during the formation of nano-scale features. Furthermore, it is of interest to examine how changes in monomer pendant group size impact imprinted feature profiles.
This work provides answers to these questions through a combination of modeling and experimental efforts. Densification due to the photopolymerization reaction and the resulting shift from Van der Waals’ to covalent interactions is modeled using Monte-Carlo techniques. The model allows for determination of extent of reaction, degree of polymerization, and local density changes as a function of the etch barrier formulation and the interaction energies between molecules (including the quartz template). Experimental efforts focus on a new technique to examine trench profiles in the quartz template using TEM characterization. Additionally, SEM images of imprinted images from various etch barrier formulations were examined to determine local contraction of the etch barrier. Over a large range of etch barrier formulations, which range from 10 - 20 % volumetric contraction as bulk materials, it was found that dense 100 nm lines printed approximately the same size and shape.
Step and FLash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL) is one of several new methods of imprint lithography being actively developed. Since S-FIL is a 1X printing technique, fabrication of templates is especially critical. The requirement to produce defect-free pillars (needed for imprinting contacts on wafers) in a reliable and manufacturable manner only serves to compound this challenge. In this study, the feasibilty and methodology of fabricating templates having arrays of sub-80 nm pillars is demonstrated. This process involves the use of a Leica VB6 100 keV e-beam system to pattern ZEP 520A resist, followed by a series of chrome and quartz etches to arrive at the final all-quartz template. Wafer printing was done on 200 mm wafers using Molecular Imprints Inc., Imprio-100 system. Critical dimension of template contacts and pillars is shown as a function of e-beam dose. Results of the study have demonstrated that S-FIL templates made with sub-80 nm pillars can be used to reliably replicate 1:1 pitch contact hole arrays on wafers. Sidewall profiles of both template pillars and printed contacts were sloped somewhat, and resulted in an approximately a 20-30 nm bias between contact bottom (smaller) and top opening. Critical dimension uniformity of printed contact arrays within-field and from field-to-field was also explored. Within-field CD uniformity of contacts was found to be less than field-to-field CD uniformity, which was excellent. The feasibility of printing pillar array using S-FIL was also demonstrated. Arrays of pillars measuring 54 nm with a pitch of 1:3 were reliably printed.
Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (SFIL) is one of several new nano-imprint techniques being actively developed. While SFIL has been shown to be capable of sub-30 nm resolution, critical dimension (CD) control of imprinted features must be demonstrated if SFIL Is to become a viable and production worthy lithography technique. In the current study, a Molecular Imprints Imprio-100 system was used to imprint resolution patterns on 200 mm wafers. A characterization of critical dimension uniformity over the all-quartz template was done and compared to the same features printed on wafers. This analysis was performed for 100, 80, 50, and 30 nm features in three ways: over a single die using 64 sites arrayed across a 21 mm field, from field-to-field for 37 die across a single wafer, and from wafter-to-wafer for six wafers. Results show that CD's transfer from template to wafer with a slight positive bias which is greatest for 50 and 30 nm line sizes. Feature profiles studies. Despite this, the maximum calculated component of process variation from the SFIL process itself was calculated to be only 6 nm.
Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (SFIL) is an attractive low-cost method for printing sub-100 nm geometries. Relative to other imprinting processes, SFIL has the advantage that the template is transparent thereby facilitating conventional overlay techniques. In addition, the imprint process is performed at low pressures and room temperature, which minimizes magnification and distortion errors. Since SFIL is a 1X lithography technique, the template masks will require very good layer-to-layer overlay accuracy for multiple level device fabrication. To fabricate a transparent SFIL template, processing techniques familiar to existing binary phase shift mask fabrication are utilized. However, in order to fabricate the sub-100 nm features necessary for SFIL templates, thinner resist and chromium are necessary. Initial resolution tests have resulted in features sizes down to ~20 nm with the non-chemically amplified resist, ZEP520. Template to template overlay of <15 nm (mean + 3σ) can be achieved if the template fabrication procedure consists of a single 1” template exposed in the center of a 6” × 6” × 0.25” quartz blank.
Step and flash imprint lithography (SFIL) is an attractive method for printing sub-100 nm geometries. Relative to other imprinting processes SFIL has the advantage that the template is transparent, thereby facilitating conventional overlay techniques. In addition, the imprint process is performed at low pressures and room temperature, minimizing magnification and distortion errors. The purpose of this work was to investigate alternative methods for defining high resolution SFIL templates and study the limits of the SFIL process. Two methods for fabricating templates were considered. The first method used a very thin (<20 nm) layer of Cr as a hard mask. The second fabrication scheme attempts to address some of the weaknesses associated with a solid glass substrate. Because there is no conductive layer on the final template, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and defect inspection are compromised. By incorporating a conductive and transparent layer of indium tin oxide on the glass substrate, charging is suppressed during SEM inspection, and the transparent nature of the final template is not affected. Using ZEP-520 as the electron beam imaging resist, features as small as 20 nm were resolved on the templates. Features were also successfully imprinted using both types of templates.
Lift-off resist processing has been used for a variety of applications as a way of patterning metal layers using additive deposition methods. Many different processes have been used for this purpose, each involving either single or multiple layers of resist which are processed to form a reentrant profile. In this study, we examine two specific applications where lift-off processing is especially challenging. In the first case, a high resolution i-line lift-off process was needed for an application having severe surface topography caused by thick surrounding ohmic structures. Conventional bi-layer resist processing provided poor critical dimension control due to adjacent reflective surfaces and swing effects caused by resist thickness non-uniformity. A solution was found by incorporating a developable anti-reflective coating into the resist stack to reduce reflectance and resulting swing effects. The result was a lift-off process with high resolution used to image gate trenches over severe topology with critical dimension control maintained. The second application involved creating a T-gate profile using conventional optical lithography methods and modern positive DUV resists. Problems related to interlayer mixing and dissolution were overcome by introducing a photostabilization process to harden the stem layer and maintain its fidelity during the coating of subsequent resist layers. The result was an all optical, positive DUV tri-layer resist stack performed using two separate optical exposures, which produced a 200 nm T-shaped gate structure.
Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (SFIL) is an attractive method for printing sub-100 nm geometries. Relative to other imprinting processes SFIL has the advantage that the template is transparent, thereby facilitating conventional overlay techniques. The purpose of this work is to investigate alternative methods for defining features on an SFIL template. The first method used a much thinner (< 20 nm) layer of Cr as a hard mask. Thinner layers still suppress charging during e-beam exposure of the template, and have the advantage that CD losses encountered during the pattern transfer of the Cr are minimized. The second fabrication scheme addresses some of the weaknesses associated with a solid glass substrate. Because there is no conductive layer on the final template, SEM and defect inspection are compromised. By incorporating a conductive and transparent layer of indium tin oxide on the glass substrate, charging is suppressed during inspection, and the UV characteristics of the final template are not affected. Templates have been fabricated using the two methods described above. Features as small as 30 nm have been resolved on the templates. Sub-80 nm features were resolved on the first test wafer printed.
Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (SFIL) is an attractive method for printing sub-100 nm geometries. Relative to other imprinting processes SFIL has the advantage that the template is transparent, thereby facilitating conventional overlay techniques. In addition, the imprint process is performed at low pressures and room temperature, minimizing magnification and distortion errors. The purpose of this work was to investigate alternative methods for defining high resolution SFIL templates and study the limits of the SFIL process. Two methods for fabricating templates were considered. The first method used a very thin layer of Cr as a hard mask. The second fabrication scheme attempts to address some of the weaknesses associated with a solid glass substrate. Because there is no conductive layer on the final template, SEM and defect inspection are compromised. By incorporating a conductive and transparent layer of indium tin oxide (ITO) on the glass substrate, charging is suppressed during SEM inspection, and the transparent nature of the final template is not affected. Using ZEP-520 as the electron beam imaging resist, features as small as 20 nm were resolved on the templates. Features were also successfully imprinted using both types of templates.
Contact printing has been used for decades in many various lithography applications in the microelectronic industry. While vacuum contact printing processes offer sub-micron resolution and high throughput, they often suffer from some important drawbacks. One of the most common problems is degradation in both resolution and defect density which occurs when the same mask si used for multiple exposures without frequent mask cleans. This is largely due to the relatively high surface energy of both quartz and chrome and the tendency of most photoresists to adhere to these surfaces. As a result, when a mask and wafer are pressed into intimate contact, resist will tend to stick to the mask creating a defect on the wafer, effectively propagating defects to subsequent wafers. In this study, DuPont Teflon AF 1601S is used as a photomask coating and evaluated for its ability to act as a release agent and reduce defects while maintaining resolution for multiple exposures. Teflon AF is an amorphous, transparent, low surface energy, polymeric material that can be spin coated into a thin conformal film. Tests have shown that when using an uncoated mask in vacuum contact, resolution of 0.75 micrometers dense lines is severely degraded after less than 10 consecutive exposures. However, when the mask is coated, 0.75 micrometers dense lines were successfully resolved using vacuum contact for over 200 exposures without cleaning. In addition, it has been demonstrated that Teflon AF coatings impart to a mask a self-cleaning capability, since particles tend to stick to the photoresist rather than the mask. A coated mask, which was purposefully contaminated with particulates, resolved 0.75 micrometers dense lines on all but the first wafer of a series of 25 consecutive exposures. The patented mask releases layer process has successfully been demonstrated with a positive novolak resist. Additional data which describes the system chemistry, dilution and coating process, and film morphology are also presented.