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Proceedings Paper

Novel wafer track-based resolution enhancement technology for 248-nm DUV lithography
Author(s): Tom X. Zhong; Emir Gurer; John W. Lewellen; Ed C. Lee
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Paper Abstract

248 nm DUV lithography has become a mainstream production technology for sub-0.25 micrometer feature sizes due to its superior process technology and improved cost of ownership (COO). As the semiconductor industry moves to sub-0.18 micron critical layer feature sizes, there is an enormous economic incentive to extend 248 nm technology towards smaller geometries. Traditionally, resolution enhancement technologies such as various illumination types (off-axis, annular ring and quadrapole) and phase shifted masks are based on the optimization of the diffracted aerial image wave front and they concentrate on the exposure tools and masks. In this paper we report a new novel resolution enhancement technology based on the wafer track. We have demonstrated that this new technology, along with the scanner-based resolution enhancement techniques, can substantially improve resolution capabilities and process latitudes of the 248 nm technology. Consequently, semiconductor manufacturers will be able to extend 248 nm DUV technology for smaller feature sizes than was possible before. Our new resolution enhancement technology allowed us to increase the contrast of an acetal-based DUV resist from about 5 to 13 by carefully controlling the environment during the post exposure bake process. This technology provided a continuous contrast knob that could be controlled and set based on the application. Increased photoresist contrast in turn made it possible to pattern 0.15 micrometer isolated lines and 0.2 micrometer dense lines using a 248 nm mercury lamp-based scanner with projection optics designed for 0.35 micrometer features. A DOF of 0.8 micrometer for 0.25 micrometer dense lines was achieved using this PEB- based resolution enhancement technology whereas conventional technology could not resolve 0.25 micrometer dense lines at all. Detailed lithographic characterization identified a 30% improvement in process latitude. Furthermore, cross sectional SEM studies revealed high quality CD profiles and measured high side wall angles with resolution-enhanced patterns. The cross sectional SEM studies also suggested that the new resolution enhancement technology also reduces the iso-dense bias. Detailed Prolith simulations support these experimental results. Mechanistic understanding along with the experimental data and simulation results will be presented in this paper.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 2000
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 3999, Advances in Resist Technology and Processing XVII, (23 June 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.388366
Show Author Affiliations
Tom X. Zhong, Silicon Valley Group (United States)
Emir Gurer, Silicon Valley Group (United States)
John W. Lewellen, Silicon Valley Group (United States)
Ed C. Lee, Silicon Valley Group (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3999:
Advances in Resist Technology and Processing XVII
Francis M. Houlihan, Editor(s)

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