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Chemically amplified (CA) resists are in widespread use for the fabrication of leading-edge microelectronic devices, and it is anticipated that they will see use well into the future. The refinement and optimization of these materials to allow routine imaging at dimensions that will ultimately approach the molecular scale will depend on an improved in-depth understanding of the materials and their processing. We provide here an overview of recent work in our laboratory on the chemical and physical processes that occur during post-exposure baking (PEB) of positive-tone CA resists. Our results provide a clearer understanding of how this critical step in the lithographic imaging process will affect extendibility of the CA resist concept to nanoscale feature sizes.
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