High χ block copolymers for sub 20 nm pitch patterning: synthesis, solvent annealing, directed self assembly, and selective block removal

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Jarnagin, Nathan D.
Henderson, Clifford L.
Tolbert, Laren M.
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Block copolymer (BCP) thin film patterns, generated using directed self-assembly (DSA) of diblock copolymers, have shown excellent promise as templates for semiconductor device manufacturing since they have the potential to produce feature pitches and sizes well below 20 nm and 10 nm, respectively, using current 193 nm optical lithography. The goal of this work is to explore block copolymers with sufficient thermodynamics driving force (as described by the Flory Huggins interaction parameter, χ) for phase separation at these smallest lengths scales. Here, poly(styrene)-b-poly(hydroxystyrene) is investigated since the PHOST domain is known to form extensive hydrogen bond networks resulting in increased χ due to this strong enthalpic interaction. In this work, nitroxide mediated polymerization (NMP) techniques were utilized to produce PS-b-PHOST diblock copolymers with a range of molecular weights (5000-30000) with low PDI approaching 1.2. The phase separation of low molecular weight PS-b-PHOST on neutral underlayer substrates via solvent annealing provided thin film vertical lamellae with 13 nm pitch. These results illustrate the improved resolution of PS-b-PHOST compared with the current industry standard of PS-b-PMMA (with 20 nm pitch). The directed self assembly of lamellar PS-b-PHOST patterns with 18 nm pitch via graphoepitaxy is demonstrated. Also, a highly selective atomic layer deposition (ALD) and etch technique was investigated which provided selective block removal of (PS-b-PHOST) block copolymer patterns which initially exhibited no inherent etch contrast. In this process, the PS domain is removed leaving a high fidelity etch relief pattern of the original block copolymer template. Finally, an alternative system is presented, namely Poly(trimethylsilylstyrene)-block-poly(hydroxystyrene) (PTMSS-b-PHOST), which utilizes silicon containing functionality in one of the blocks, providing high etch contrast. PTMSS-b-PHOST patterns were also exposed to oxygen plasma allowing selective block removal of the PS domain without the need for additional ALD processing steps.
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