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Esprit Project 20084 - NANCAR
Nanolithography using chemically amplified resists

Keywords: electron beam nanolithography, nanotechnology, chemically amplified resists

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The NANCAR project is a comprehensive experimental and theoretical study of the use of chemically amplified resists (CAR) for a e-beam nanolithography. All the major commercially available resists will be included, together with the novel EPR prototype negative resist from IMEL/Demokritos. The objectives are to investigate and develop the potential of the e-beam plus CAR route for a variety of critical applications, as represented by five carefully selected industrial demonstrators. The most important of these is advanced CMOS technology, and the critical dimensions targeted by the project reflect the significance of this application. Optimised e-beam nanolithography processes will be developed for 150 nm (1 Gbit and below), followed by 100 nm prototype processes (4 Gbit). The work will extend to 30 nm resolution, recognising the potential for quantum device applications.

At the beginning of the project, the precise industrial role to be played by e-beam lithography has not been firmly established and several options are open. There is, for example, a possibility that direct write fast e-beam lithography would be used for the 1 Gbit DRAM generation at 180 nm.

It is more likely however that deep ultra violet technology will be used in production for this generation and that e-beam direct write will be used for quick turn-around prototyping for both DRAM and advanced ASICs. For the 4 Gbit generation at 120 nm and beyond, there is much greater uncertainty, with some interest still in X Ray lithography. Direct write e-beam lithography remains the technology of choice for quantum device R & D with requirements typically down to 30 nm.

The industrial demonstrators have been selected to reflect these options and will be completed with industrial collaboration. To ensure the relevance to industry of the demonstrators and the rest of the technical work packages, industrial researchers will serve on the Project Management Committee to help with the detailed steering and orientation of the project as it progresses.

In summary, the overall objective and result of the project is to significantly advance the state-of-the-art in e-beam nanolithography using chemically amplified resists and to establish its ultimate potential for industrial nanolithography needs in the next century.

This will be achieved through a series of five technical work packages with the following major deliverables:
* Optimised processes for e-beam lithography to 150 nm CD resolution - for one positive tone and one negative tone commercial CAR.
* Optimised 150 nm process as above for the novel EPR negative tone resist (to include post exposure bake cycles and specification of all other key variables).
* Optimised formulation for EPR resist.
* Prototype processes as above to 100 nm resolution.
* Experimental processes to 30 nm for quantum device fabrication.
* Determination of resolution limits for selected CARs.
* Measured results of acid diffusion effects and their consequences for resolution and proximity effects.
* Upgraded resist exposure and development software for CARs to include acid diffusion.
* Upgrade of CAPROX proximity correction software to include acid diffusion and resist process parameter effects - including effects on resist due to pattern transfer processes specific to the five industrial demonstrators.

These deliverables contain several key tools which are essential for future industrial nanolithography needs.

A series of four demonstrators will be undertaken applying the new e-beam nanolithography tools and processes to the key industrial applications, focusing upon advanced CMOS and optoelectronics. A series of industrial evaluation trials will be undertaken using the CAR process deliverable, including the new EPR resist, for advanced CMOS applications including 1 Gbit DRAM technology. These will be performed on a quick turnaround basis to designs and specifications from the industry. Take-up and exploitation of the results are ensured through links with the European CMOS community, as represented on the Project Management Committee by Siemens and GEC Plessey. Further exploitation will take place through a quick turn-around e-beam prototyping service using the nanolithography tools resulting from the project.

Contact Point
Dr. Zheng Cui
Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils
Central Microstructure FacilityRutherford Appleton Laboratory
Chilton, Didcot
UK - Oxon - OX11 0QX
e-mail: (E-mail removed)

Start date: 1 January 96
Duration: 36 months

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