Distortion in conformable masks for evanescent near field optical lithography
Thesis DisciplineElectrical Engineering
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Engineering
In this thesis the in-plane pattern distortion resulting from the use of Evanescent Near Field Optical Lithography (ENFOL) masks was investigated. ENFOL is a high resolution low-cost technique of lithography that is able to pattern features beyond the diffraction limit of light. Due to its use of the evanescent near field, ENFOL requires the use of conformable masks for intimate contact. Such masks can stretch and skew as they come into contact with silicon substrates and therefore distort the high resolution features patterned on them. It was desired to measure this distortion to ascertain the patterning performance of ENFOL masks and possibly correct for any uniform distortion found. To this end a sophisticated measuring process was successfully demonstrated. This involved the use of a Raith 150 Electron Beam Lithography (EBL) system with precision laser interferometer stage and metrology software module for automated measurements. Custom software was written for the Raith to enable it to take additional measurements to compensate for electron beam drift. Processing algorithms were then employed to using the measurements to compensate for beam drift and correcting for shift and rotation systematic errors. The performance of the in-plane distortion measuring process was found to have a precision of 60nm. With the ability to measure distortion, ENFOL masks were used to pattern substrates and distortion was found to be large, on the order of 1µm. This is much larger than desired for sub 100nm patterning as is expected of ENFOL. The distortions were non-uniform patterns of localised displacements. This, the observation of Newton's rings beneath a test mask and the observation of a single particle distortion across measurements of the same mask across different loadings in the EBL pointed to particulate contamination causing the distortion. In order to prove beyond doubt that particulate contamination was the cause of the spurious distortions, mechanical modelling using the Finite Element Method (FEM) of analysis was employed. The results from this matched the distortions observed experimentally, particles 20-40µm modelling the observed distortion.