In semiconductor and data storage device manufacturing, it is desirable to produce feature sizes less than 30 nm with a high depth-to-width aspect ratio on the target material rapidly at a low cost. However, optical diffraction limits the smallest focused laser beam diameter to around half of the laser wavelength (λ/2). The existing approach to achieving nanoscale fabrication is mainly based on costly extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology operating within the diffraction limit. In this paper, a new method is shown to achieve materials processing resolution down to 10 nm (λ/80) at an infrared laser wavelength of around 800 nm in the far-field, in air, well beyond the optical diffraction limit. A high-quality longitudinal field with a purity of 94.7% is generated to realise this super-resolution. Both experiments and theoretical modelling have been carried out to verify and understand the findings. The ablation craters induced on polished silicon, copper, and sapphire are compared for different types of light fields. Holes of 10–30 nm in diameter are produced on sapphire with a depth-to-width aspect ratio of over 16 and a zero taper with a single pulse at 100–120 nJ pulse energy. Such high aspect ratio sub-50 nm holes produced with single pulse laser irradiation are rarely seen in laser processing, indicating a new material removal mechanism with the longitudinal field. The working distance (lens to target) is around 170 µm, thus the material processing is in the far field. Tapered nano-holes can also be produced by adjusting the lens to the target distance.
|Article number||339 (2022)|
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Light: Science & Applications|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Dec 2022|