The refractive index and absorbance of aqueous and organic fluids for immersion lithography

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Costner, Elizabeth A.

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The semiconductor industry is continually challenged to maintain the trend identified in 1965 by Gordon Moore of increasing the density of transistors on an integrated circuit. These advances have been achieved by increasing the resolution that can be printed with photolithography, traditionally by decreasing the exposure wavelength. Decreasing the exposure wavelength from 193 nm, the current state of the art, presents significant technical challenges. To circumvent these challenges, resolution can be increased by enabling increases in numerical aperture (without changing the exposure wavelength), using immersion lithography. In immersion lithography, the air gap between the photoresist-coated wafer and lens is replaced with a high refractive index fluid. Immersion lithography has been demonstrated with water as the immersion fluid. With water immersion lithography at 193 nm, the maximum resolution that can be printed can be decreased from 65 nm to 45 nm. To enable further resolution increases, immersion fluids with a higher index than water are needed. The requirements for next generation high index fluids are: an index of refraction higher than water, high transparency, and physical properties similar to water. A variety of methods to identify a high index fluid were completed. First, the optical properties of aqueous solutions of metal cations with varying anions were tested. A series of linear, cyclic, and polycyclic alkanes were also studied, since saturated systems have electronic transitions at wavelengths less than 200 nm, to provide the necessary transparency at 193 nm. Large alkane groups were also incorporated into either the cation or anion of a salt to develop an aqueous solution with the optical properties of a saturated hydrocarbon. In addition to these empirical surveys, a modeling approach was used to develop “designer” absorbance spectra that would correspond to fluids with a high index and low absorbance at 193 nm. Additionally, in Appendix D, the results of an electrochemical study of the diffusion coefficient of ferrocene methanol in poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate hydrogels of varying molecular weight and water content will be presented. The results of these mass transport studies can be used to qualitatively understand the mass transport characteristics of additional species in the hydrogel.



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