A highly damped kinematic coupling for precision instruments. The kinematic coupling provides support while causing essentially no influence to its nature shape, with such influences coming, for example, from manufacturing tolerances, temperature changes, or ground motion. The coupling uses three ball-cone constraints, each combined with a released flexural degree of freedom. This arrangement enables a gain of higher load capacity and stiffness, but can also significantly reduce the friction level in proportion to the ball radius divided by the distance between the ball and the hinge axis. The blade flexures reduces somewhat the stiffness of the coupling and provides an ideal location to apply constrained-layer damping which is accomplished by attaching a viscoelastic layer and a constraining layer on opposite sides of each of the blade flexures. The three identical ball-cone flexures provide a damped coupling mechanism to kinematically support the projection optics system of the extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) system, or other load-sensitive apparatus.
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.