X-Ray Lithography and Microscopy

  • Eberhard Spiller
  • Ralph Feder
  • David Sayre
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 25)


X-rays have considerably shorter wavelengths than visible light and offer, therefore, the potential of drastically improved resolution. However, due to the fact that all materials are absorbing and that all refractive indices are very close to one in the x-ray region, conventional lenses cannot be fabricated for x-rays and magnification and demagnification cannot be obtained by refraction of x-rays. The oldest x-ray microscopy technique is the x-ray contact microscopy introduced by Goby.1 Goby produced an x-ray shadowgraph of an object by bringing it into contact with a photographic film and irradiating it with x-rays. He viewed the developed unmagnified image with an optical microscope. Despite the fact that the resolution of this method cannot be better than that of the optical microscope, the technique has been widely used in biology and medicine, mostly for the differences in contrast and resolution compared to optical microscopy. A detailed discussion of the method can be found in several books and review articles.2–4 There have also been several attempts to improve the resolution of the method, either by producing a magnified image by projection5 or by the use of grain-free recording media coupled with an electron microscope for magnified viewing.6,7 Drastically improved resolution close to the diffraction limit has been obtained recently.8,9 In this case an organic x-ray resist has been used as the recording medium for the x-ray image and a scanning electron microscope provided the magnification. Organic resist materials are the radiation sensitive materials used in the fabrication of semiconductor devices. They are chemically modified by radiation in such a way that they, for example, can be dissolved in the areas that have been exposed, leaving the unexposed areas of a device wafer covered with a protection film which resists all the subsequent processing steps used for the fabrication of a device. Nearly all electronic microcircuits produced today are fabricated by photolithography (exposure by light) and have smallest linewidths around 2.5μm. It is expected that in the future, when linewidths around or below 1μm will be used, optical lithography will be replaced by electron beam or (and) x-ray lithography. X-ray lithography as it is used today in many laboratories is a 1:1 magnification shadowgraph technique like Goby’s contact microscopy.


Zone Plate Optical Lithography Circuit Pattern Subsequent Processing Step Contact Microscopy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eberhard Spiller
    • 1
  • Ralph Feder
    • 1
  • David Sayre
    • 1
  1. 1.IBM T. J. Watson Research CenterYorktown HeightsUSA

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