Resolution enhancement in far-field photolithography is demonstrated using a plasmonic metamask in the proximity regime, in which Fresnel diffraction is dominant. The transverse magnetic component of the diffracted wave from the photomask, which reduces the pattern visibility and lowers the resolution, was successfully controlled by coupling with the anti-symmetric mode of the excited surface plasmon. We obtained a consistently finely-patterned photoresist surface at a distance of up to 15 μm from the mask surface for 3-μm-pitch slits because of conserved field visibility when propagating from the near-field to the proximity regime. We confirmed that sharp edge patterning is indeed possible when using a wafer-scale photomask in the proximity photolithography regime. Our plasmonic metamask method produces cost savings for ultra-large-scale high-density display fabrication by maintaining longer photomask lifetimes and by allowing sufficient tolerance for the distance between the photomask and the photoresist.
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