Abstract

We describe a new mode of optical lithography called absorbance-modulation optical lithography (AMOL) in which a thin film of photochromic material is placed on top of a conventional photoresist and illuminated simultaneously by a focal spot of wavelength λ1 and a ring-shaped illumination of wavelength λ2. The λ1 radiation converts the photochromic material from an opaque to a transparent configuration, thereby enabling exposure of the photoresist, while the λ2 radiation reverses the transformation. As a result of these competing effects, the point-spread function that exposes the resist is strongly compressed, resulting in higher photolithographic resolution and information density. We show by modeling that the point-spread-function compression achieved via AMOL depends only on the absorbance distribution in the photostationary state. In this respect, absorbance modulation represents an optical nonlinearity that depends on the intensity ratio of λ1 and λ2 and not on the absolute intensity of either one alone. By inserting material parameters into the model, a lithographic resolution corresponding to λ113 is predicted.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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