Electron beam lithography, often abbreviated as e-beam lithography, emits a beam of electrons in a patterned fashion, across a surface that is covered with resist. The process exposes the resist while removing the exposed or the none exposed regions of the resist.
Therefore, electron lithography serves to create microstructures in a resist. The technician can then transfer the microstructures to the substrate material through etching. Electron beam lithography systems were developed to manufacture the integrated circuits and are often used to create nanotechnology architecture.
The main advantage of using e-beam lithography technology is that it is a high-speed technology, especially when drawing intricate patterns. Moreover, e-beam lithography systems ensure point-by-point exposure limiting speed.
One of the concerns when investing in electron beam lithography is how long it takes to install the system. Before we can answer how long it shall take to install the electron beam lithography, we must understand the system’s different components.
Components of the Electron Beam Lithography
The necessary elements of the electron beam lithography system are:
- Electron Source
- Electron Gun Lens
- Beam Blanker
- Computer System
Now, let us look at each of the components to understand how they work together.
Electron Gun Lens
The electron gun lens is one of the essential components used to make the electron beam lithography system. The electron gun uses thermal energy, inducing the flow of electrons. It works by producing and might control, focus, and deflect the beam of electrons.
The beam blanker
To selectively pattern the resist material, the beam blanker is installed in the electron lithography. Ideally, beam blanking is usually controlled by the computing system, and it is crucial when it comes to turning on or off the electron beam. Therefore, when the beam is not blocked, it rasters across the substrate and exposes the resist. To move the substrate, the mechanical stage is essential. To ensure slight adjustments, the motorized stage is needed.
The patterning software is also needed, and it is used for the circuit design, while it drives the direct writing of the structures.
Deflection Coils and Lenses
The Deflection coils and the lenses are used for focusing the electron. The stigmator is another type of lens used for compensating imperfections in the construction and alignment of the electron lithography column. The vacuum isolates the electron beam from the interferences.
Therefore, how long it takes to install the electron beam lithography system depends on expertise. To ensure the proper functioning of the system, engage the services of a qualified and experienced technician. Note that incorrect installation will result in malfunctioning of the system.
In E-Beam lithography, the resolution is not limited by diffraction. Besides, backscattering causes the electron beam to broaden and exposes a large volume of resist than expected. Another issue associated with EBL is that the proximity effect places a limit on the minimum spacing between the pattern features.