Trends in advanced device fabrication require combined lithography-etching multi-patterning sequences and self-aligned multi-patterning to form devices’ finest features at subwavelength dimensions.
As EUV lithography (13.5 nm) progresses to larger numerical apertures and new thin resists, new multipatterning sequences must be developed with mutually compatible resists and proximal layers to avoid resist poisoning, encourage adhesion, and enable expended materials to be easily removed without harming similar materials. Subsequent pattern transfers to form device structures by etching require mutually etch-exclusive resists, masking, and spacer materials, where each can be selectively removed by an etch process that leaves the other materials unaffected.
Materials’ resistances or susceptibilities to different etch chemistries are ultimately determined by their etching performances. Material etching rates are defined by the differences in thickness measurements made prior to and after exposure to specific wet or dry etchants for specific time intervals. Selectivity is a relative comparison of the ratio of different materials’ etching rates in an etchant where, for example, a patterning hardmask must have low selectivity compared to the underlying material that it protects.