Proton beam (p-beam) writing is a new direct-writing process that uses a focused beam of MeV protons to pattern resist material at nanodimensions. The process, although similar in many ways to direct writing using electrons, nevertheless offers some interesting and unique advantages. Protons, being more massive, have deeper penetration in materials while maintaining a straight path, enabling p-beam writing to fabricate three-dimensional, high aspect ratio structures with vertical, smooth sidewalls and low line-edge roughness. Calculations have also indicated that p-beam writing exhibits minimal proximity effects, since the secondary electrons induced in proton/electron collisions have low energy. A further advantage stems from the ability of protons to displace atoms while traversing material, thereby increasing localized damage especially at the end of range. P-beam writing produces resistive patterns at depth in Si, allowing patterning of selective regions with different optical properties as well as the removal of undamaged regions via electrochemical etching.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(07)70129-3