High-Throughput Electron-Beam Lithography with Multiple Plasmonic Enhanced Photemission Beamlets

2018-12-21T15:24:17Z (GMT) by Zhidong Du
Nanoscale lithography is the key component of the semiconductor device fabrication process. For the sub-10 nm node device, the conventional deep ultraviolet (DUV) photolithography approach is limited by the diffraction nature of light even with the help of double or multiple patterning. The upcoming extreme ultraviolet (EUV) photolithography can overcome this resolution limit by using very short wavelength (13.5nm) light. Because of the prohibitive cost of the tool and the photomask, the EUV lithography is only suitable for high volume manufacturing of high value. Several alternative lithography technologies are proposed to address the cost issue of EUV such as directed self-assembly (DSA), nanoimprint lithography (NIL), scanning probe lithography, maskless plasmonic photolithography, optical maskless lithography, multiple electron-beam lithography, etc.

Electron-beam lithography (EBL) utilizes a focused electron beam to write patterns dot by dot on the silicon wafer. The beam size can be sub-nanometers and the resolution is limited by the resist not the beam size. However, the major drawback of EBL is its low throughput. The throughput can be increased by using large current but at the cost of large beam size. This is because the interaction between electrons in the pathway of the electron beam. To address the trade-off between resolution and throughput of EBL, the multiple electron-beam lithography was proposed to use an array of electron-beams. Each beam has a not very large beam current to maintain good resolution but the total current can be very high to improve the throughput. One of the major challenges is how to create a uniform array of electron beamlets with large brightness.

This dissertation shows a novel low-cost high-throughput multiple electron-beam lithography approach that uses plasmonic enhanced photoemission beamlets as the electron beam source. This technology uses a novel device to excite and focus surface electromagnetic and electron waves to generate millions of parallel electron beamlets from photoemission. The device consists of an array of plasmonic lenses which generate electrons and electrostatic micro-lenses which guide the electrons and focus them into beams. Each of the electron beamlets can be independently controlled. During lithography, a fast spatial optical modulator will dynamically project light onto the plasmonic lenses individually to control the switching and brightness of electron beamlets without the need of a complicated beamlet-blanking array and addressable circuits. The incident photons are first converted into surface electromagnetic and electron waves by plasmonic lens and then concentrated into a diffraction-unlimited spot to excite the local electrons above their vacuum levels. Meanwhile, the electrostatic micro-lens will extract the excited electrons to form a finely focused beamlet, which can be rastered across a wafer to perform lithography. The scalable plasmonic enhanced photoemission electron-beam sources are designed and fabricated. An array of micro-scale electrostatic electron lenses are designed and fabricated using typical micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) fabrication method. The working distance (WD) defined as the gap from the electron lens to the underneath silicon wafer is regulated using a gap control system. A vacuum system is designed and constructed to host the multiple electron-beam system. Using this demo system, the resolution of the electron beams is confirmed to be better than 30 nm from the lithography results done on poly methyl methacrylate (PMMA) and hydrogen silsesquioxane (HSQ) resists. According to simulation results, the electron beam spot size can be further optimized to be better than 10 nm.

This scheme of high-throughput electron-beam lithography with multiple plasmonic enhanced photoemission beamlets has the potential to be an alternative approach for the sub-10 nm node lithography. Because of its maskless nature, it is cost effective and especially suitable for low volume manufacturing and prototype demonstration.