Polymer Dissolution Model: An Energy Adaptation Of The Critical Ionization Theory
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The current scale of features size in the microelectronics industry has reached the point where molecular level interactions affect process fidelity and produce excursions from the continuum world like line edge roughness (LER). Here we present a 3D molecular level model based on the adaptation of the critical ionization (CI) theory using a fundamental interaction energy approach. The model asserts that it is the favorable interaction between the ionized part of the polymer and the developer solution which renders the polymer soluble. Dynamic Monte Carlo methods were used in the current model to study the polymer dissolution phenomenon. The surface ionization was captured by employing an electric double layer at the interface, and polymer motion was simulated using the Metropolis algorithm. The approximated interaction parameters, for different species in the system, were obtained experimentally and used to calibrate the simulated dissolution rate response to polymer molecular weight and developer concentration. The predicted response is in good agreement with experimental dissolution rate data. The simulation results support the premise of the CI theory and provide an insight into the CI model from a new prospective. This model may provide a means to study the contribution of development to LER and other related defects based on molecular level interactions between distinct components in the polymer and the developer.