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Scientists improve near-field optical proximity correction via spatial modulation

Scientists improve near-field optical proximity correction via spatial modulation
Physical understanding of the near-field OPE in plasmonic lithography. Credit: UCAS

Researchers led by Prof. Wei Yayi from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) have improved the final pattern fidelity in near-field nanolithography, a breakthrough in understanding the near-field diffraction limit of an evanescent-field-based patterning system.

The results, published in Microsystems & Nanoengineering, is the first to investigate the physical origin of the near-field optical proximity effect (OPE), and the and simulation results indicate that the evanescent-field-induced rapid loss of high-k information is one of the main optical contributors to the near-field OPE.

As the feature size is continuously scaled down, the pattern profile generated by a near-field lithography exhibits very poor pattern quality due to the near-field OPE, far below the minimum requirement for nanofabrication. Therefore, it is essential to minimize the near-field OPE in order to achieve the highest pattern resolution and fidelity possible with the plasmonic lithography process.

In this study, the researchers investigated the physical concepts behind the near-field OPE in a maskless plasmonic lithography, and proposed a near-field optical proximity correction (OPC) method via the spatial modulation of nanopatterns to improve the final pattern quality.

Scientists improve near-field optical proximity correction via spatial modulation
Schematic of the maskless plasmonic lithography system with a scanning plasmonic bowtie nanoaperture. Credit: UCAS

Precise OPC requires accurate exposure, so numerical calculations were performed to estimate the point spread function and quantitatively analyze the near-field enhancement effect and the size-dependence of the plasmonic near-field.

Furthermore, an analytical formula was proposed to quantitatively analyze the effect of the rapidly decaying feature of the evanescent field on the near-field OPE, and the theoretical limit of the pattern fidelity.

In view of the features of the near-field OPE in , a fast and effective method for correcting the evanescent-field-induced high-k information loss by exposure dose compensation in advance in the exposure dose map was carried out. And the showed that the final pattern fidelity can be greatly improved.

More information: Dandan Han et al, Enhancement of pattern quality in maskless plasmonic lithography via spatial loss modulation, Microsystems & Nanoengineering (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41378-023-00512-4

Citation: Scientists improve near-field optical proximity correction via spatial modulation (2023, April 26) retrieved 3 December 2023 from
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