A new capping multilayer structure for EUV-reflective Mo/Si multilayers consists of two layers: A top layer that protects the multilayer structure from the environment and a bottom layer that acts as a diffusion barrier between the top layer and the structure beneath. One embodiment combines a first layer of Ru with a second layer of B.sub.4C. Another embodiment combines a first layer of Ru with a second layer of Mo. These embodiments have the additional advantage that the reflectivity is also enhanced. Ru has the best oxidation resistance of all materials investigated so far. B.sub.4C is an excellent barrier against silicide formation while the silicide layer formed at the Si boundary is well controlled.
 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.