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Over recent decades, continuous reductions in the scale of field-effect transistors in accordance with Moore's law, which states that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit doubles every two years, have enabled continuous increases in device performance and transistor density.1–3 Currently, state-of-the-art devices are based on structural elements with dimensions of 7nm or even 5nm (N7/N5). The highest-resolution patterns required for N7/N5 devices are silicon fins with a pitch of 18–28nm and metal layers with a pitch of 24–32nm. These dimensions far exceed the resolution attainable with 193 immersion (193i) lithography. Extreme UV lithography might be an alternative process for the formation of lines and spaces, but is expensive and not entirely ready for use in production. To overcome the limitations of lithography, multiple patterning methods—litho-etch or self-aligned multiple patterning—were used in the last four stages of device miniaturization based on nodes of 10–28nm (N10–N28).5, 6 To achieve the specifications for fins in N7/N5 devices, we need a self-aligned quadruple patterning (SAQP) method that provides a critical dimension (CD) of about 7nm, a CD uniformity (CDU) and pitch walk of 0.5nm (3 sigma), and a line width roughness (LWR) and line edge roughness (LER) of 1.4 and 1.2nm, respectively.
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