Process conditions in X-ray lithography for the fabrication of devices with sub-micron feature sizes
This article describes the fabrication of polymer structures with lateral dimensions in the sub-micron regime using hard X-rays (λc ≈ 0.4 nm) from the electron storage ring ANKA. Spincoated polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) grades have been analyzed with respect to development rates and contrast. The contrast has been determined to be constant over a wide dose regime but rapidly decreases for dose values below 1 kJ/cm3. Films with a thickness from 2 to 11 μm have been patterned using a high resolution X-ray mask consisting of 2 μm thick gold absorbers on a suspended 1 μm thick silicon nitride membrane. The fabrication of sub-micron X-ray lithography structures with feature sizes down to 400 nm is confined by the mechanical parameters of the resist material and the process conditions. Surface tension after development limits the achievable aspect ratio of isolated pillars and walls, depending on the actual resist height. PMMA structures have been successfully used as template for electroplating of 1 μm thick gold to demonstrate the fabrication capability of sub-micron scale metal parts.
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