WASHINGTON Government, industry and university researchers have joined forces to search for new materials needed for next-generation ICs.
IBM Corp.'s Thomas J. Watson Research Center (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) has teamed up with researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (Gaithersburg, Md.) to measure the spatial location of complex chemical processes in photosensitive materials used to etch chip components.
Using X-ray and neutron probes, the researchers said their near-molecular measurements allowed them to directly link chemical reactions of photoresists to the profile and composition of the final printed structure.
Their results were reported in the July 19 issue of the journal Science.
"Critical dimensions must be controlled to within 2 to 5 nanometers, which is comparable to the characteristic size of the individual polymeric molecules in the photoresists used to pattern the features," the researchers reported.