A buffer-layer to minimize the size of defects on a reticle substrate prior to deposition of a reflective coating on the substrate. The buffer-layer is formed by either a multilayer deposited on the substrate or by a plurality of sequentially deposited and annealed coatings deposited on the substrate. The plurality of sequentially deposited and annealed coating may comprise multilayer and single layer coatings. The multilayer deposited and annealed buffer layer coatings may be of the same or different material than the reflecting coating thereafter deposited on the buffer-layer.
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.