We describe a method that can be used to produce ruthenium/ruthenium oxide patterns starting from a ruthenium thin film. The method is based on highly localized oxidation of a small surface area of a ruthenium film by means of exposure to a pulsed laser under ambient conditions. Laser exposure is followed by dissolution of the un-exposed ruthenium in a NaClO solution, which leaves the conductive, partially oxidized ruthenium area on the substrate. Spatially selective oxidation, material removal, and, by implication, patterning, are, therefore, achieved without the need for a photoresist layer. Varying the exposure laser parameters, such as fluence, focus diameter, and repetition rate, allows us to optimize the process. In particular, it enables us to obtain circular Ru/RuO2 islands with a sub-diffraction-limited diameter of about 500 nm, for laser exposure times as short as 50 ms. The capability to obtain such small islands suggests that heat-diffusion is not a limiting factor to pattern Ru by laser heating on a (sub-)micron scale. In fact, heat diffusion helps in that it limits the area where a sufficiently high temperature is reached and maintained for a sufficiently long time for oxidation to occur. Our method provides an easy way to produce metallic Ru/RuO2 (sub-)micron structures and has possible applications in semiconductor manufacturing.

AIP Publishing
Appl. Phys. Lett.
Materials & Surface Science for EUV Lithography

Cruciani, L., Vreugdenhil, M., van Vliet, S., Abram, E., van Oosten, D., Bliem, R., … Planken, P. (2024). Direct laser patterning of ruthenium below the optical diffraction limit. Appl. Phys. Lett., 124(17), 171902 : 1–7. doi:10.1063/5.0205538