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Keywords:

  • optical lithography;
  • plasmonics;
  • optical fabrication methods;
  • nanolithography;
  • surface plasmon resonance

Abstract

A theoretical model is introduced to evaluate the ultimate resolution of plasmonic lithography using a ridge aperture. The calculated and experimental results of the line array pattern depth are compared for various half pitches. The theoretical analysis predicts that the resolution of plasmonic lithography strongly depends on the ridge gap, achieving values under 1x nm with a ridge gap smaller than 10 nm. A micrometer-scale circular contact probe is fabricated for high speed patterning with high positioning accuracy, which can be extended to a high-density probe array. Using the circular contact probe, high-density line array patterns are recorded with a half pitch up to 22 nm and good agreement is obtained between the theoretical model and experiment. To record the high density line array patterns, the line edge roughness (LER) is reduced to ≈17 nm from 29 nm using a well-controlled developing process with a smaller molecular weight KOH-based developer at a temperature below 10°C.