Energy distribution functions for ions from pulsed EUV-induced plasmas in low pressure N2-diluted H2 gas

Job Beckers (Corresponding author), Tijn van de Ven, C.A. de Meijere, Ruud van der Horst, M. van Kampen, Vadim Banine

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The operation of Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) lithography scanners inherently goes hand-in-hand with the creation of highly transient pulsed plasmas in the optical path of these tools. These so-called EUV-induced plasmas are created upon photoionization events when a pulsed beam of EUV photons travels through the low pressure background gas. It is fully recognized by the lithography industry that EUV-induced plasmas may significantly impact the quality and life-time of expensive and delicate optical elements in the scanner. Research efforts into EUV-induced plasmas impacting plasma-facing surfaces have so far been limited to pure hydrogen (H2) plasmas. However, this hydrogen background gas may occasionally be diluted with a small fraction of another molecular gas such as nitrogen (N2). The impact on the relevant plasma parameters of such molecular contaminants has remained unknown until now. In this letter, we put forward measurements of energy-resolved fluxes of (positive) hydrogen ions, nitrogen ions, and hydrogen-nitrogen ions created in a pulsed N2-diluted EUV-induced plasma in H2 at approximately 5 Pa (typical EUV lithography scanner conditions). The data have been obtained using an electrostatic quadrupole plasma analyzer and show that although the N2-dilution fraction is small (∼2 × 10−3) compared to the H2 partial pressure, implications for the ion flux out of the plasma and the composition thereof are significant. Since the mass of nitrogen-containing ions is much higher in comparison to that of their hydrogen counterparts, and because of their potential chemical activity, this effect has to be taken into account while studying the surface impact of EUV-induced plasmas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number133502
Number of pages5
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2019


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