Laser-driven tin plasmas are driving new-generation nanolithography as sources of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation centered at 13.5 nm. A major challenge facing industrial EUV source development is predicting energetic ion debris produced during the plasma expansion that may damage the sensitive EUV channeling multilayer optics. Gaining a detailed understanding of the plasma dynamics and ion acceleration mechanisms in these sources could provide critical insights for designing debris mitigation strategies in future high-power EUV sources. We develop a fully kinetic model of tin-EUV sources using one-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations to study ion debris acceleration, which will be valuable for cross-validation of radiation-hydrodynamic simulations. An inverse-bremsstrahlung heating operator is used to model the interaction of a tin target with an Nd:YAG laser, and thermal conduction is included through a Monte Carlo Coulomb collision operator. While the large-scale evolution is in reasonable agreement with analogous hydrodynamic simulations, the significant timescale for collisional equilibration between electrons and ions allows for the development of prominent two-temperature features. A collimated flow of energetic ions is produced with a spectrum that is significantly enhanced at high energies compared to fluid simulations. The dominant acceleration mechanism is found to be a large-scale electric field supported mainly by the electron pressure gradient, which is enhanced in the kinetic simulations due to the increased electron temperature. We discuss the implications of these results for future modeling of tin-EUV sources and the development of debris mitigation schemes.

AIP Publishing
Appl. Phys. Lett.
Plasma Theory and Modeling

Totorica, S. R., Lezhnin, K., Hemminga, D., Gonzales Muñoz, J., Sheil, J., Diallo, A., … Fox, W. (2024). Acceleration mechanisms of energetic ion debris in laser-driven tin plasma EUV sources. Appl. Phys. Lett., 124(17), 174101: 1–8. doi:10.1063/5.0200896

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