Target conditioning is a crucial ingredient of high-power extreme ultraviolet (EUV) source operation in state-of-the-art nanolithography. It involves deforming tin microdroplets into tens of nanometer-thin sheets, sheets which are subsequently irradiated by intense CO2 laser radiation to form a hot, EUV-emitting plasma. Recent experiments have found that a substantial fraction of the initial droplet mass is lost in the deformation phase through fragmentation. The goal of the present study is to investigate, using radiation-hydrodynamic modeling, how variations in the sheet mass affect EUV source power and the laser-to-in-band conversion efficiency (CE). It is found that high-mass sheets can “feed” the plasma with sufficient mass to sustain the production of in-band-emitting charge states over the course of laser irradiation. Low-mass sheets, on the contrary, cannot supply enough mass to sustain this production over the pulse, thus leading to a reduction in in-band power and CE. The dependence of CE on laser energy and target thickness is quantified, and a rather weak reduction of CE with increasing laser energy for high-mass sheets is identified.

AIP Publishing
Physics of Plasmas
Plasma Theory and Modeling

Gonzales Muñoz, J., & Sheil, J. (2024). On the role of target mass in extreme ultraviolet light generation from CO2-driven tin plasmas for nanolithography. Phys. Plasmas, 31(5), 050701: 1–7. doi:10.1063/5.0200206