Fluid management in immersion and imprint microlithography
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The important roles of fluid dynamics in immersion lithography (IL) and step-and-flash imprint lithography (S FIL) are analyzed experimentally and theoretically. In IL there are many challenges with managing a fluid droplet between the lens and the wafer, including preventing separation of the fluid droplet from the lens and deposition of small droplets behind the lens. Fluid management is also critical in S FIL because the imprint fluid creates capillary and lubrication forces, both of which are primarily responsible for the dynamics of the template and fluid motion. The fluid flow and shape of the wafer determine how uniform the gap height between the wafer and the template is, and they affect the resistance during the alignment phase. IL was investigated as a methodology to improve laser lithography for making photomasks. The fluid flow in IL was investigated by building a test apparatus to simulate the motion of the fluid droplet during microlithographic production, and using this apparatus to conduct experiments on various immersion fluids and wafer topcoats to determine what instabilities would occur. A theoretical model was used to predict the fluid separation instabilities. Finite element simulations were also used to model the fluid droplet, and these simulations accurately predict the fluid instabilities and quantitatively agreed with the model and experiments. It is shown that the process is viable: capillary forces are sufficient to keep the fluid droplet stable, heating effects due to the laser are negligible, and other concerns such as evaporation and dissolution are manageable. Euler beam theory and the lubrication equation were used to model the bending of an S FIL template and the flow of the fluid between the template and a non-flat wafer. The template filling time, conformance of the template to the wafer, and the alignment phase are investigated with an analytical model and finite element simulations. Analysis and simulations show that uniformity of the residual film thickness and ease of proper alignment depend greatly on the planarity of the wafer, the properties of the template, and the surface tension of the fluid.