A transmission lithography mask that utilizes a transparent substrate or a partially transparent membrane as the active region of the mask. A reflective single layer or multilayer coating is deposited on the membrane surface facing the illumination system. The coating is selectively patterned (removed) to form transmissive (bright) regions. Structural imperfections and defects in the coating have negligible effect on the aerial image of the mask master pattern since the coating is used to reflect radiation out of the entrance pupil of the imaging system. Similarly, structural imperfections in the clear regions of the membrane have little influence on the amplitude or phase of the transmitted electromagnetic fields. Since the mask "discards," rather than absorbs, unwanted radiation, it has reduced optical absorption and reduced thermal loading as compared to conventional designs. For EUV applications, the mask circumvents the phase defect problem, and is independent of the thermal load during exposure.
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.