SPIE Advanced Lithography 2017
Conference paper

Fundamentals of EUV resist-inorganic hardmask interactions

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High resolution Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) patterning is currently limited by EUV resist thickness and pattern collapse, thus impacting the faithful image transfer into the underlying stack. Such limitation requires the investigation of improved hardmasks (HMs) as etch transfer layers for EUV patterning. Ultrathin (<5nm) inorganic HMs can provide higher etch selectivity, lower post-etch LWR, decreased defectivity and wet strippability compared to spin-on hybrid HMs (e.g., SiARC), however such novel layers can induce resist adhesion failure and resist residue. Therefore, a fundamental understanding of EUV resist-inorganic HM interactions is needed in order to optimize the EUV resist interfacial behavior. In this paper, novel materials and processing techniques are introduced to characterize and improve the EUV resist-inorganic HM interface. HM surface interactions with specific EUV resist components are evaluated for open-source experimental resist formulations dissected into its individual additives using EUV contrast curves as an effective characterization method to determine post-development residue formation. Separately, an alternative adhesion promoter platform specifically tailored for a selected ultrathin inorganic HM based on amorphous silicon (aSi) is presented and the mitigation of resist delamination is exemplified for the cases of positive-Tone and negative-Tone development (PTD, NTD). Additionally, original wafer priming hardware for the deposition of such novel adhesion promoters is unveiled. The lessons learned in this work can be directly applied to the engineering of EUV resist materials and processes specifically designed to work on such novel HMs.