A method and apparatus are described wherein a thin layer of complaint material is deposited on the surface of a chuck to mitigate the deformation that an entrapped particle might cause in the part, such as a mask or a wafer, that is clamped to the chuck. The harder particle will embed into the softer layer as the clamping pressure is applied. The material composing the thin layer could be a metal or a polymer for vacuum or electrostatic chucks. It may be deposited in various patterns to affect an interrupted surface, such as that of a "pin" chuck, thereby reducing the probability of entrapping a particle.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.