Applied Physics A

, Volume 96, Issue 4, pp 819-825

First online:

Fabrication of Step-and-Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL) templates using XeF2 enhanced focused ion-beam etching

  • J. KettleAffiliated withMicroelectronics and Nanostructures Group, School of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, University of ManchesterMicrobridge Services Ltd., Cardiff University Email author 
  • , R. T. HoyleAffiliated withMicrobridge Services Ltd., Cardiff University
  • , S. DimovAffiliated withManufacturing Engineering Centre, School of Engineering, Cardiff University

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The fabrication of Step-and-Flash Imprint Lithography (S-FIL) templates with line widths of 50 nm is described in this work. The structures have been patterned using a Ga+ focused ion beam (FIB) in a quartz template. FIB milling is generally accompanied with re-deposition effects, which represent a hindrance to densely patterned nanostructures required in most NIL applications. To reduce these re-deposition effects, in this research, xenon difluoride (XeF2) enhanced FIB etching was applied that also increases the material removal rates in comparison to pure kinetic ion sputtering. To optimise the process when using XeF2 gas the following ion scanning parameters have been examined: ion dose, beam current, dwell time and beam overlap (step size). It has been found that the assisting gases at very low doses do not bring significant etching enhancements whilst the sputtering rates have increased at high doses. Using the XeF2 gas-assisted etching, FIB structuring has been used to fabricate <100 nm structures onto quartz S-FIL templates. The presence of XeF2 considerably enhances the etching rate of quartz without any significant negative effects on the spatial resolution of the FIB lithographic process and reduces the template processing time.


81.07.b 81.16.Nd 07.77.Ka