Extreme ultraviolet lithography has recently been introduced in high-volume production of integrated circuits for manufacturing the smallest features in high-end computer chips. Hybrid organic/inorganic materials are considered as the next generation of photoresists for this technology, but detailed knowledge about the response of such materials to the ionizing radiation used (13.5 nm, 92 eV) is still scarce. In the present work, we use broadband high-harmonic radiation in the energy range 22–70 eV for absorption spectroscopy and photobleaching (that is, the decrease of absorbance) of thin films of an n-butyltin oxo-cage, a representative of the class of metal-based EUV photoresist. The shape of the absorption spectrum in the range 22–92 eV matches well with the spectrum predicted using tabulated atomic cross sections. The photobleaching results are consistent with loss of the butyl side groups due to the breaking of Sn–C bonds following photoionization. Bleaching is strongest in the low-energy range (<40 eV), where the absorption is largely due to the carbon atoms in the organic groups. At higher energies (42–70 eV), absorption is dominated by the tin atoms, and since these remain in the film after photoconversion, the absorption change in this region is smaller. It is estimated that after prolonged irradiation (up to ∼3 J cm–2 in the range 22–40 eV) about 70% of the hydrocarbon groups are removed from the film. The rate of bleaching is high at the beginning of exposure, but it rapidly decreases with increasing conversion. We rationalize this using density functional theory calculations: the first Sn–C bonds are efficiently cleaved (quantum yield Φ ≈ 0.9), because the highest occupied molecular orbitals (HOMOs) (from which an electron is removed after photoionization) are located on Sn–C sigma bonds. In the photoproducts, the HOMO is localized on tin atoms that have lost their hydrocarbon group (formally reduced to the Sn(II) oxidation state), and holes formed on those tin atoms lead to less efficient cleavage reactions. Our results reveal the primary reaction steps following excitation with ionizing radiation of tin-oxo cages. Our methodology represents a systematic approach of studying and quantitatively assessing the performance of new photoresists and as such enables the development of future EUV photoresists.

ASML, ARCNL, VU, UvA, RUG, NWO , European Union's Horizon 2020
J. Phys. Chem. C
High-Harmonic Generation and EUV Science

Sadegh, N., Evrard, Q., Kraus, P., & Brouwer, A. (2024). XUV Absorption Spectroscopy and Photoconversion of a Tin-Oxo Cage Photoresist. J. Phys. Chem. C, 128(9), 3965–3974. doi:10.1021/acs.jpcc.3c07480