Contamination has a large effect on the production rate of nanostructures and on the life time of essential parts of production and inspection tools. Traditionally, researchers put a lot of attention to the role of particles, but for structures on nanometer scale, molecular contamination appears to be just as important. The molecular contamination, however, is less well-known and is only studied in a few places in the world, among them in the Netherlands. For the production or inspection of nanostructures, electrons or high-energy photons (DUV and EUV: deep UV and extreme UV) are used (e.g. lithography). These photons and electrons damage the lenses and mirrors they interact with. The chemical reaction of and with molecules on the surface may be of even bigger importance. The damage and contamination has direct consequences on the production rate, the production accuracy and the life time of the production tool.
The research focus is to get an understanding of the contamination mechanisms, so that the production processes are better controllable.
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