Dry plasma etching for the pattern transfer of mask features is fundamental to semiconductor processing and the development of device and electrically conducting elements becomes more challenging as features reach the deep nanoscale regime. In this work, high resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) coupled with energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) characterization were used to analyze the pattern transfer of graphoepitaxially aligned block copolymer (BCP) features to germanium (Ge) substrates as a function of time. The BCP patterns were converted into metal oxide hardmasks in order to affect good aspect ratios of the transferred features. An unusual interface layer between metal oxide nanowires and the germanium-on-insulator substrate was observed. EDX analysis shows that the origin of this interface layer is a result of the presence of a negative tone e-beam resist material, HSQ (hydrogen silsesquioxane). HSQ was employed as a guiding material to align line-space features of poly(styrene)-block-poly(4-vinylpyridine) (PS-b-P4VP) BCP with 16 nm half-pitch topography. Additionally, the existence of a metal oxide layer (from the initial PS-b-P4VP film) is also shown through ex situ TEM and EDX characterization. Three dimensional modeling of features is also provided giving a unique insight into the arrangement and structure of BCP features prior to and after the pattern transfer process. The results presented in this article highlight the accuracy of high resolution electron microscopy and elemental mapping of BCP generated on-chip etch masks to observe and understand through-film features affecting pattern transfer.
Trinity College Dublin ->