Near-field infrared nanoscopic study of EUV- and e-beam-exposed hydrogen silsesquioxane photoresist

J. Kim, J.-K. Lee, B. Chae, J. Ahn and S. Lee

Nano Convergence 9, 53 (2022)
This article presents a technique of scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM) based on scanning probe microscopy as a nanoscale-resolution chemical visualization technique of the structural changes in photoresist thin films. Chemical investigations were conducted in the nanometer regime by highly concentrated near-field infrared on the sharp apex of the metal-coated atomic force microscopy (AFM) tip. When s-SNOM was applied along with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to characterize the extreme UV- and electron-beam (e-beam)-exposed hydrogen silsesquioxane films, line and space patterns of half-pitch 100, 200, 300, and 500 nm could be successfully visualized prior to pattern development in the chemical solutions. The linewidth and line edge roughness values of the exposed domains obtained by s-SNOM were comparable to those extracted from the AFM and scanning electron microscopy images after development. The chemical analysis capabilities provided by s-SNOM provide new analytical opportunities that are not possible with traditional e-beam-based photoresist measurement, thus allowing information to be obtained without interference from non-photoreaction processes such as wet development.