Development of amorphous silicon based EUV hardmasks through physical vapor deposition
Extending extreme ultraviolet (EUV) single exposure patterning to its limits requires more than photoresist development. The hardmask film is a key contributor in the patterning stack that offers opportunities to enhance lithographic process window, increase pattern transfer efficiency, and decrease defectivity when utilizing very thin film stacks. This paper introduces the development of amorphous silicon (a-Si) deposited through physical vapor deposited (PVD) as an alternative to a silicon ARC (SiARC) or silicon-oxide-Type EUV hardmasks in a typical trilayer patterning scheme. PVD offers benefits such as lower deposition temperature, and higher purity, compared to conventional chemical vapor deposition (CVD) techniques. In this work, sub-36nm pitch line-space features were resolved with a positive-Tone organic chemically-Amplified resist directly patterned on PVD a-Si, without an adhesion promotion layer and without pattern collapse. Pattern transfer into the underlying hardmask stack was demonstrated, allowing an evaluation of patterning metrics related to resolution, pattern transfer fidelity, and film defectivity for PVD a-Si compared to a conventional tri-layer patterning scheme. Etch selectivity and the scalability of PVD a-Si to reduce the aspect ratio of the patterning stack will also be discussed.