We compare the performance, stability and microstructure of Si/Gd multilayers containing thin barrier layers of W, , or , and determine that multilayers containing thick W barrier layers at each interface provide the best compromise between high peak reflectance in the extreme ultraviolet near and good stability upon heating. The Si/W/Gd films have sharper interfaces and also show vastly superior thermal stability relative to Si/Gd multilayers without barrier layers. We find that these structures have relatively small compressive film stresses, and show good temporal stability thus far. We measured a peak reflectance of 29.7% at , and a spectral bandpass of (FWHM), for an optimized Si/W/Gd multilayer having a period .
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