Nanoscale lithography of silicon dioxide using electron beam patterned carboxylic acids as localized etch initiators

T. K. Whidden, S. J. Yang, A. Jenkins-Gray, M. Pan, Michael Kozicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We report on the use of self-assembled monolayers of long chain carboxylic acids as initiators in the high temperature (120°C) HF vapor etching of silicon dioxide thin films and on their use in a unique nanolithographic process we have named chemically enhanced vapor etching. Spectroscopic ellipsometry, Rutherford backscatter spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and multiple internal reflectance infrared characterizations of monolayers of n-octadecyltrichlorosilane and/or myristic and 10-undecenoic carboxylic acids on silicon dioxide are reported. IR data support acid adsorption on the surface via hydroxyl coordination. Raman data provide evidence for the cross-linking of the hydrocarbon backbone upon exposure to the electron beam. Comparative etch behavior of various samples with differing monolayers on the oxide surface provide strong support for the carboxylic acid moiety as the primary reaction initiator for silicon dioxide etching at the temperature employed in these systems. Monolayers of 10-undecenoic acid on silicon dioxide have been patterned using electron beams and subsequent etch processing of the samples has yielded oxide test patterns with linewidths as narrow as 0.1 μm. These systems thus hold promise as novel patterning tools for nanolithography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-616
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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