New “self-immolating” or “unzipping” polymers, materials that depolymerize in response to irradiation, were designed and prepared successfully. We studied several candidate polymers and ultimately chose two of them for further development. One is a polyester that aromatizes upon depolymerization. The unzipping reaction initiated by UV exposure in solution was confirmed. The polymer was then studied in thin films to assess its potential for use in formulating photoresists. The neat polymer was tested as a blend with novolac resin. The effect of unzipping polyester loading in novolac on the rate of dissolution of films in TMAH was studied. Inhibition occurs at 20−30% loading. The films were exposed with DUV light and patterning was observed. The sensitivity of the unzipping polyester formulation is low in part due to the low absorption of the polymer for UV light. However, the polymer showed higher sensitivity with EUV exposure and first contrast curves show sensitivity in the range of 20−25mJ/cm<sup>2</sup>.
Pitch division lithography (PDL) with a photobase generator (PBG) allows printing of grating images with twice
the pitch of a mask. The proof-of-concept has been published in the previous paper and demonstrated by
others. Forty five nm half-pitch (HP) patterns were produced using a 90nm HP mask, but the image had line
edge roughness (LER) that does not meet requirements. Efforts have been made to understand and improve the
LER in this process. Challenges were summarized toward low LER and good performing pitch division.
Simulations and analysis showed the necessity for an optical image that is uniform in the z direction in order for
pitch division to be successful. Two-stage PBGs were designed for enhancement of resist chemical contrast. New
pitch division resists with polymer-bound PAGs and PBGs, and various PBGs were tested. This paper focuses on
analysis of the LER problems and efforts to improve patterning performance in pitch division lithography.