Plasma-etched pattern transfer of sub-10 nm structures using a metal–organic resist and helium ion beam lithography

Scott M Lewis, Matthew Hunt, Guy Derose, Hayden Alty, Jarvis Li, Alex Wertheim, Lucia Derose, Grigore A. Timco, Axel Scherer, Stephen G. Yeates, Richard E. P. Winpenny

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Field emission devices are promising candidates to replace silicon FinFETs as next-generation nanoelectronic components. For these devices to be adopted, nanoscale field emitters with nanoscale gaps between them need to be fabricated, requiring the transfer of e.g. sub-10 nm patterns with sub-20 nm pitch into substrates like silicon and tungsten. New resist materials must therefore be developed that exhibit the properties of sub-10 nm resolution and high dry etch resistance. A negative tone, metal–organic resist is presented here. It can be patterned to produce sub-10 nm features when exposed with helium ion beam lithography at line doses on the order of 10s of pC/cm. The resist was used to create 5 nm wide, continuous, discrete lines spaced on a 16 nm pitch in silicon, and 6 nm wide lines on 18 nm pitch in tungsten, with line edge roughness of 3 nm. After the lithographic exposure, the resist demonstrates high resistance to silicon and tungsten dry etch conditions (SF6 and C4F8 plasma), allowing the pattern to be transferred into the underlying substrates. The resist’s etch selectivity for silicon and tungsten was measured to be 6.2:1 and 5.6:1, respectively; this allowed 3-4 nm thick resist films to yield structures that were 21 and 19 nm tall, respectively, while both maintained sub-10 nm width on sub-20 nm pitch.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNano Letters
Early online date19 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • metal-organic resist
  • ion beam resist
  • helium ion beam lithography
  • high resolution pattern
  • high dry etch resistance

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Photon Science Institute


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