This study focused on the effect of UV irradiation on modification of polymethyl methacrylate-based photoresist, and then on wet photoresist (PR) removal of patterned structure (single damascene structure). Three single-wavelength UV sources were considered for PR treatment, with λ = 172, 222, and 283 nm. Modification of blanket PR was characterized using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR; chemical change), spectroscopic ellipsometry (SE; thickness change), and dissolution in organic solvent (solubility change). While for patterned samples, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used for evaluation of cleaning efficiency. In comparison to 172 nm, the PR film irradiated by 222 nm and 283 nm photons resulted in formation of higher concentration in C=C bond. Immersion tests using pure N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP) at 60 °C for 2 min showed that some improvement in PR removal was only observed for PR films treated by 283 nm UV for short irradiation times. Irradiation by photons at the other two wavelengths did not result in an enhancement of removal efficiency.
The PR film treated by 222 nm photons was chosen for further study with O3/H2O vapor at 90°C. Experimental results showed a complete PR and BARC removal for UV-treated PR, which can be explained by C=C bond cleavage by the oxidizer.