Fluorescent Labeling to Investigate Nanopatterning Processes in Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography
Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography uses 13.5 nm light to reach the sub-20 nm resolution. However, the process of pattern formation induced by this high-energy light is not well-understood. In this work, we provide an inorganic EUV photoresist with fluorescence properties by introducing a carbazole derivative as a ligand, and we study its effect on the patterning process. Using the fluorescence properties, changes in the emission of the material after EUV exposure could be tracked by means of spectroscopy and microscopy. The resist sensitivity was substantially reduced by the incorporation of the carbazole benzoate ligands, which is attributed to hole trapping and steric hindrance. After EUV irradiation of the resist films, infrared, UV–visible absorption, and fluorescence spectroscopies showed that the carbazole units were still mostly intact, although their fluorescence intensity was lowered. Our work shows that fluorescent labeling can provide relevant mechanistic insights in the patterning process of resists, potentially with a molecular resolution.