Properties of Photoresist Polymers

The explosive growth of semiconductor industry has been fueled by the relentless pursuit for miniaturization of semiconductor devices. The minimal feature sizes or critical dimensions (CDs) of semiconductor devices in mass production have shrunk from 10 um more than thirty years ago to less than 100nm in 2005. According to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, this miniaturization trend is expected to continue unabated with the production of sub-25nm generations of devices later next decade1. The miniaturization of semiconductor devices has made it possible to offer a host of sophisticated devices and equipment, from super computers, personal computers, personal digital assistants, cellular phones to medical devices and household appliances, with ever increasing performance at steadily reduced prices per transistor or bit.

This miniaturization trend has been made possible by advances in a critical device patterning process called photolithography, including constantly improved photosensitive polymeric materials called photoresists, advances in optical lenses, and the use of shorter wavelengths of light for patterning. In 2004, the semiconductor industry quietly ushered in the Nanoelectronics Age with the mass production of sub-100nm node devices. The current leading-edge semiconductor devices — the so called 90nm node devices — in mass production have a transistor gate length of less than 50nm. These leading edge devices are fabricated usingphotoresists based on alicyclic polymers at 193nm wavelength, as well as Novolak-based midultra violet (MUV) photoresists or poly(4-hydroxystyrene)-based deep UV (DUV) photoresists at wavelengths of 365 nm and 248 nm, respectively.

By: Qinghuang Lin

Published in: RC23689 in 2005


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