5 research outputs found

    Enhancing Ordering Dynamics in Solvent-Annealed Block Copolymer Films by Lithographic Hard Mask Supports

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    We studied solvent-driven ordering dynamics of block copolymer films supported by a densely cross-linked polymer network designed as organic hard mask (HM) for lithographic fabrications. The ordering of microphase-separated domains at low degrees of swelling corresponding to intermediate/strong segregation regimes was found to proceed significantly faster in films on a HM layer as compared to similar block copolymer films on silicon wafers. The 10-fold enhancement of the chain mobility was evident in the dynamics of morphological phase transitions and of related process of terrace formation on a macroscale as well as in the degree of long-range lateral order of nanostructures. The effect is independent of the chemical structure and on the volume composition (cylinder/lamella forming) of the block copolymers. In-situ ellipsometric measurements of the swelling behavior revealed a cumulative increase in 1–3 vol % in solvent uptake by HM-block copolymer bilayer films, so that we suggest other than dilution effect reasons for the observed significant enhancement of the chain mobility in concentrated block copolymer solutions. Another beneficial effect of the HM-support is the suppression of the film dewetting which holds true even for low molecular weight homopolymer polystyrene films at high degrees of swelling. Apart from immediate technological impact in block copolymer-assisted nanolithography, our findings convey novel insight into effects of molecular architecture on polymer–solvent interactions

    Accurate Location and Manipulation of Nanoscaled Objects Buried under Spin-Coated Films

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    Detection and precise localization of nanoscale structures buried beneath spin-coated films are highly valuable additions to nanofabrication technology. In principle, the topography of the final film contains information about the location of the buried features. However, it is generally believed that the relation is masked by flow effects, which lead to an upstream shift of the dry film’s topography and render precise localization impossible. Here we demonstrate, theoretically and experimentally, that the flow-shift paradigm does not apply at the submicrometer scale. Specifically, we show that the resist topography is accurately obtained from a convolution operation with a symmetric Gaussian kernel whose parameters solely depend on the resist characteristics. We exploit this finding for a 3 nm precise overlay fabrication of metal contacts to an InAs nanowire with a diameter of 27 nm using thermal scanning probe lithography

    Testing the Equivalence between Spatial Averaging and Temporal Averaging in Highly Dilute Solutions

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    Diffusion relates the flux of particles to the local gradient of the particle density in a deterministic way. The question arises as to what happens when the particle density is so low that the local gradient becomes an ill-defined concept. The dilemma was resolved early last century by analyzing the average motion of particles subject to random forces whose magnitude is such that the particles are always in thermal equilibrium with their environment. The diffusion dynamics is now described in terms of the probability density of finding a particle at some position and time and the probabilistic flux density, which is proportional to the gradient of the probability density. In a time average sense, the system thus behaves exactly like the ensemble average. Here, we report on an experimental method and test this fundamental equivalence principle in statistical physics. In the experiment, we study the flux distribution of 20 nm radius polystyrene particles impinging on a circular sink of micrometer dimensions. The particle concentration in the water suspension is approximately 1 particle in a volume element of the dimension of the sink. We demonstrate that the measured flux density is exactly described by the solution of the diffusion equation of an infinite system, and the flux statistics obeys a Poissonian distribution as expected for a Markov process governing the random walk of noninteracting particles. We also rigorously show that a finite system behaves like an infinite system for very long times despite the fact that a finite system converges to a zero flux empty state

    Thermal Probe Maskless Lithography for 27.5 nm Half-Pitch Si Technology

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    Thermal scanning probe lithography is used for creating lithographic patterns with 27.5 nm half-pitch line density in a 50 nm thick high carbon content organic resist on a Si substrate. The as-written patterns in the poly phthaladehyde thermal resist layer have a depth of 8 nm, and they are transformed into high-aspect ratio binary patterns in the high carbon content resist using a SiO<sub>2</sub> hard-mask layer with a thickness of merely 4 nm and a sequence of selective reactive ion etching steps. Using this process, a line-edge roughness after transfer of 2.7 nm (3σ) has been achieved. The patterns have also been transferred into 50 nm deep structures in the Si substrate with excellent conformal accuracy. The demonstrated process capabilities in terms of feature density and line-edge roughness are in accordance with today’s requirements for maskless lithography, for example for the fabrication of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) masks

    Sub-10 Nanometer Feature Size in Silicon Using Thermal Scanning Probe Lithography

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    High-resolution lithography often involves thin resist layers which pose a challenge for pattern characterization. Direct evidence that the pattern was well-defined and can be used for device fabrication is provided if a successful pattern transfer is demonstrated. In the case of thermal scanning probe lithography (t-SPL), highest resolutions are achieved for shallow patterns. In this work, we study the transfer reliability and the achievable resolution as a function of applied temperature and force. Pattern transfer was reliable if a pattern depth of more than 3 nm was reached and the walls between the patterned lines were slightly elevated. Using this geometry as a benchmark, we studied the formation of 10–20 nm half-pitch dense lines as a function of the applied force and temperature. We found that the best pattern geometry is obtained at a heater temperature of ∼600 °C, which is below or close to the transition from mechanical indentation to thermal evaporation. At this temperature, there still is considerable plastic deformation of the resist, which leads to a reduction of the pattern depth at tight pitch and therefore limits the achievable resolution. By optimizing patterning conditions, we achieved 11 nm half-pitch dense lines in the HM8006 transfer layer and 14 nm half-pitch dense lines and L-lines in silicon. For the 14 nm half-pitch lines in silicon, we measured a line edge roughness of 2.6 nm (3σ) and a feature size of the patterned walls of 7 nm