The difference in photochemistry and radiation chemistry of sulfonium salt acid generator was investigated by product analysis and time resolved spectroscopic methods for chemically amplified resist application. After KrF excimer laser and electron beam irradiation of sulfonium salt, yields of decomposed products including acid were determined. The ultra fast in-cage reactions after laser irradiation were directly observed by the femtosecond laser flash photolysis method. Intermediates after electron beam irradiation were observed by nanosecond electron beam pulse radiolysis. From both the product analysis and time resolved spectroscopic methods, the contribution of each reaction pathway to acid generation was determined.© (2000) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.