Current EUV lithography pushes photoresist thickness reduction to sub-30 nm in order to meet resolution targets and mitigate pattern collapse. In order to maintain the etch budgets in hard mask open, the adhesion layer in between resist and hard mask has to scale accordingly. We have reported a grafted polymer brush adhesion layer used in an ultrathin EUV patterning stack and demonstrated sub-36 nm pitch features with significant improvement over existing adhesion promotion techniques . This paper provides further understanding of this class of materials from a fundamental point of view. We first propose a hypothesis of the adhesion mechanism, and probe key factors that could affect adhesion performance. The grafting kinetics study of polymer brush that contains different functional groups to the substrate shows grafting chemistry, time, and temperature are key factors that affect the printing performance. We then conduct a systematic study to understand printing capability at various pitches for different silicon-based substrates. By comparing the process window, we gain comprehensive understanding of the printing limits and failing modes with this approach. We provide a comparative study of a grafted adhesion layer vs. a conventional spin on BARC type material, including defectivity. Pattern transfer to hard mask with varied etch chemistry is conducted to understand the performance of polymer brush during etch.