Printing sub-micron structures using Talbot mask-aligner lithography with a 193 nm CW laser light source

A continuous improvement of resolution in mask-aligner lithography is sought after to meet the requirements of an ever decreasing minimum feature size in back-end processes. For periodic structures, utilizing the Talbot effect for lithography has emerged as a viable path. Here, by combining the Talbot effect with a continuous wave laser source emitting at 193 nm, we demonstrate successfully the fabrication of periodic arrays in silicon substrates with sub-micron feature sizes. The excellent coherence and the superior brilliance of this light source, compared to more traditional mercury lamps and excimer lasers as light source, enables the efficient beam shaping and a reduced minimum feature size at a fixed gap of 20 µm. We present a comprehensive study of proximity printing with this system, including simulations and selected experimental results of prints in up to the fourth Talbot plane. This printing technology can be used to manufacture optical metasurfaces, bio-sensor arrays, membranes, or microchannel plates.

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