Step and Flash Imprint Lithography (SFIL) is a revolutionary next generation lithography option that has become increasingly attractive in recent years. Elimination of the costly optics of current step and scan imaging tools makes SFIL a serious candidate for large-scale commercial patterning of critical dimensions below ~50 nm. This work focuses on the kinetics of the UV curing of the liquid etch barrier and the resulting densification/contraction of the etch barrier as it solidifies during this step. Previous experimental work in our group has measured the bulk densification of several etch barrier formulations, typically about 9 % (v/v). It remains unknown, however, how much etch barrier contraction occurs during the formation of nano-scale features. Furthermore, it is of interest to examine how changes in monomer pendant group size impact imprinted feature profiles.
This work provides answers to these questions through a combination of modeling and experimental efforts. Densification due to the photopolymerization reaction and the resulting shift from Van der Waals’ to covalent interactions is modeled using Monte-Carlo techniques. The model allows for determination of extent of reaction, degree of polymerization, and local density changes as a function of the etch barrier formulation and the interaction energies between molecules (including the quartz template). Experimental efforts focus on a new technique to examine trench profiles in the quartz template using TEM characterization. Additionally, SEM images of imprinted images from various etch barrier formulations were examined to determine local contraction of the etch barrier. Over a large range of etch barrier formulations, which range from 10 - 20 % volumetric contraction as bulk materials, it was found that dense 100 nm lines printed approximately the same size and shape.