In a basic study to identify low-loss optics for applications in F2 lithography, five potential coating materials (AlF3, Na3AlF6, MgF2, LaF3, and GdF3) and three deposition methods (thermal evaporation by a resistance heater and by electron beam and ion-beam sputtering) were investigated in the vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) region. Samples were supplied as single-layer coatings on CaF2 substrates by four Japanese coating suppliers. Refractive indices (n) and extinction coefficients (k) of these coatings at 157 nm were evaluated; the transmittance and the reflectance were measured by a VUV spectrometer and were compared. As a result, resistance heating thermal evaporation is seen to be the optimal method for achieving low-loss antireflection coatings. The relation among optical constants, microstructures, and stoichiometry is discussed.
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