Plasmas induced by EUV radiation are unique since they are created without the need of any discharge. Moreover, it is essential to characterize these plasmas to understand and predict their long term impact on highly delicate optics in EUV lithography tools. In this paper we study plasmas induced by 13.5 nm EUV radiation in hydrogen gas. The electron density is measured temporally resolved using a non-invasive technique known as microwave cavity resonance spectroscopy. The influence of the EUV pulse energy and gas pressure on the temporal evolution of the electron density has been explored over a parameter range relevant for industry. Our experimental results show that the maximum electron density is in the order of 1014 m-3 and depends linearly on the EUV pulse energy. Furthermore, the maximum electron density depends quadratically on the pressure; the linear term is caused by photoionization and the quadratic term by subsequent electron impact ionization. The decay of the plasma is governed by ambipolar diffusion and, hence, becomes slower at elevated pressures. Similarities and differences of the same processes in argon are highlighted in this paper.
- electron density