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ATTOsecond Spectro-microscopies for Photoresist Improvement and Efficacy

Project description

Novel metrology techniques support advanced chip manufacture

Since the first integrated circuit (IC) was produced more than 60 years ago, ICs have revolutionised our lives. They are ubiquitous, found in smartphones, televisions, laptops, cameras, computers, and so much more. Manufacturing technologies are now hitting a roadblock. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is a promising printing process for high-volume manufacturing of ICs, yet the exact mechanism of the lithographic process is not well understood due to a lack of metrology techniques that can capture the complex chemistries that occur in EUV lithography. The EU-funded ATTO-SPIE project will develop innovative metrology techniques that will aid in the understanding of the EUV lithographic process while also providing fundamental insights that will enable enhanced control of outcomes in EUV lithographic printing.


After more than 40 years of development, the semiconductor industry is currently experiencing a paradigm shift as it transitions from deep ultraviolet (UV) to extreme UV (EUV) lithography for high-volume manufacturing (HVM) of integrated circuits (ICs) to ensure further device scaling to the future technology nodes. However, integration of EUV lithographic scanners in HVM pipelines has been stymied by an incomplete knowledge of the in-situ photoresist radiochemistry that occurs during EUV exposure, which has prevented engineering of photoresists to reduce stochastic print failures and subsequent device failure rates. The proposed action, ATTOsecond Spectromicroscopies for Photoresist Improvement and Efficacy (ATTO-SPIE) will bridge this knowledge gap by developing and deploying spatiotemporal metrologies that can track the in-situ electro-chemical dynamics occurring during EUV exposure.
ATTO-SPIE will capitalise on the Experienced Researcher’s (ER) expertise on the generation and use of attosecond EUV light for time-resolved spectroscopies, as well as the knowhow of an experienced team of complementary supervisors and a state-of-the-art attosecond metrology lab (AttoLab) located in a world-leading semiconductor R&D hub (IMEC) to develop new metrology techniques that will enable resolution of the EUV exposure mechanism. This ambitious aim will be accomplished via three thrusts: i) quantification of EUV exposure kinetics in photoresists, ii) ultrafast spectroscopies to track transient chemical dynamics of EUV exposure, and iii) in-situ spatiotemporal photoelectron microscopies, all of which will be key for unraveling the complexities of the EUV exposure mechanism. The results of ATTO-SPIE will not only provide new metrology tools for photoresist research, but also stimulate new avenues in ultrafast metrologies for the semiconductor industry, while also enhancing the career potential of the ER and increasing the current knowledge base of resist radiation chemistry.


Net EU contribution
€ 166 320,00
3001 Leuven

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Vlaams Gewest Prov. Vlaams-Brabant Arr. Leuven
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 166 320,00