SPIE Advanced Lithography 2006
Conference paper

Dissolution fundamentals of 193-nm methacrylate based photoresists

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The dissolution of partially deprotected chemically amplified photoresists is the final step in printing lithographic features. Since this process step can be tuned independently from the design of the photoresist chemistry, measurements of the dissolution behavior may provide needed insights towards improving line-edge roughness. We have studied the dissolution behavior of a model 193-nm photoresist, poly (methyladimantyl methacrylate), as a function of deprotection extent and developer strength. The kinetics of the dissolution process is followed using the quartz crystal microbalance technique. These photoresist films exhibit strong swelling without dissolution over a significant range of deprotection levels. At larger extents of deprotection, we observe a combination of swelling with dissolution. Additionally, we find that the degree of film swelling decreases with tetramethylammonium hydroxide developer concentration. These studies provide the insight needed to better understand the fundamentals of the dissolution of the photoresist - a key step in lithographic process.