The etch resistance of electron-beam lithography resists, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) and ZEP520A, is increased significantly by sequential infiltration synthesis (SIS). This process infiltrates the bulk of the resist film with alumina, rendering it resistant to plasma etching. The enhanced etch resistance eliminates the need for an intermediate hard mask and the associated process costs and pattern fidelity losses. Furthermore, the improvement is realized with no degradation to the line-edge roughness of lithographically defined patterns. The enhancement in etch resistance is especially strong at the edges of the printed lines, owing to diffusion of the SIS precursors from the resist sidewalls. These improvements enable the anisotropic transfer of sub-100 nm patterns deeply into silicon without the need for an intermediate hard mask.

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