New High-Res Resists Enable Maskless Lithography Systems to Produce Nano Features

Dow Corning Electronics' Silicon Lithography Solutions group today announced the commercial availability of Dow Corning(R) XR-1541 E-Beam Resists, designed to enable the development of next-generation, direct-write lithography processing technology. This family of new advanced spin-on resists, which allow patterning with electron beams rather than conventional light, offers a maskless lithography technology capable of defining features as small as 6 nanometers (nm).

Available in a variety of high-purity, semiconductor-grade formulations, XR-1541 E-Beam Resists consist of hydrogen silsesquioxane (HSQ) resin in a carrier solvent of methylisobutylketone (MIBK). These negative-tone resists can be used with standard spin-on deposition coating equipment to produce thin films ranging in thickness from 30 nm to 180 nm in a single coat. Custom formulations are available for thinner or thicker films. The resists offer excellent etch resistance and line-edge definition down to 3.3 nm, and can be processed in a standard aqueous base developer.

Direct write e-beam lithography is used to create extremely small nanoscale structures without the need for photomasks. Thin films of resist material are first applied to silicon wafers. Next, narrow beams of electrons are used to expose the resist, which then becomes insoluble in developer, allowing unexposed regions to be selectively removed to produce patterns with fine features.

"Current lithography technology is becoming technically and economically difficult to extend beyond the 32 nm node," said Jeff Bremmer, global marketing manager with Dow Corning Silicon Lithography Solutions. "These innovative new resists allow research groups an economical way to directly write patterns with some of the highest resolutions possible, which will enable next-generation lithography process development for fabricating integrated circuits, masks or nanoimprint molds."

Several universities and research groups have already used HSQ-based e-beam resists to directly write fine patterns. "By commercializing XR-1541 E-Beam Resists, we aim to make it easier for research groups to purchase and acquire these enabling silicon-based materials," Bremmer said.

Dow Corning Corporation's Silicon Lithography Solutions has been supplying the semiconductor industry with silicon-based resins for photoresists and antireflective coatings since entering the market in 2004. For more information on the company's full range of silicon lithography materials, visit For a personal consultation, contact [email protected].

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