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Open Access Nano Express

Electron beam lithography with feedback using in situ self-developed resist

Ripon Kumar Dey and Bo Cui*

Author Affiliations

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN), University of Waterloo, 200 University Ave. West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:184  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-184

Published: 16 April 2014


Due to the lack of feedback, conventional electron beam lithography (EBL) is a ‘blind’ open-loop process where the exposed pattern is examined only after ex situ resist development, which is too late for any improvement. Here, we report that self-developing nitrocellulose resist, for which the pattern shows up right after exposure without ex situ development, can be used as in situ feedback on the e-beam distortion and enlargement. We first exposed identical test pattern in nitrocellulose at different locations within the writing field; then, we examined in situ at high magnification the exposed patterns and adjusted the beam (notably working distance) accordingly. The process was repeated until we achieved a relatively uniform shape/size distribution of the exposed pattern across the entire writing field. Once the beam was optimized using nitrocellulose resist, under the same optimal condition, we exposed the common resist PMMA. We achieved approximately 80-nm resolution across the entire writing field of 1 mm × 1 mm, as compared to 210 nm without the beam optimization process.

Electron beam lithography; Self-developing resist; Nitrocellulose