Transition from ambipolar to free diffusion in an EUV-induced argon plasma

B. Platier (Corresponding author), R. Limpens, A.C. Lassise, T.J.A. Staps, M.A.W. van Ninhuijs, K.A. Daamen, O.J. Luiten, W.L. IJzerman, J. Beckers

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Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) optical components used in EUV lithography tools are continuously impacted by an exotic and highly transient type of plasma: EUV-induced plasma. Such an EUV-induced plasma is generated in a repetitive fashion upon sending a pulsed beam of high energy (92 eV) photons through a low-pressure background gas. Although its formation occurs on a time scale of 100 ns, it is the plasma’s decay dynamics on longer time scales that dictates the fluxes and energy distribution of the produced ions. Therefore, the plasma decay also determines the overall impact on plasma-facing EUV optical components. Enabled by electron density measurements using Microwave Cavity Resonance Spectroscopy at a much higher sensitivity, we clearly show the breakdown of the ambipolar field in an EUV photon-induced plasma below electron densities of 2 * 1012 m3 and the—until now—unidentified transition from ambipolar diffusion-driven decay into a decay regime driven by free diffusion. These results not only further improve the understanding of elementary processes in this type of plasma but also have a significant value for modeling and predicting the stability and lifetime of optical components in EUV lithography.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103703
Number of pages4
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2020


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