A method for repairing mask-blank defects uses repair-zone compensation. Local disturbances are compensated over the post-defect-repair repair-zone by altering a portion of the absorber pattern on the surface of the mask blank. This enables the fabrication of defect-free (since repaired) X-ray Mo--Si multilayer mirrors. Repairing Mo--Si multilayer-film defects on mask blanks is a key for the commercial success of EUVL. It is known that particles are added to the Mo--Si multilayer film during the fabrication process. There is a large effort to reduce this contamination, but results are not sufficient, and defects continue to be a major mask yield limiter.
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.