VICI grant for Stefan Witte

Published on February 28, 2022
Category EUV Generation & Imaging
Stefan Witte in EUV Generation and Imaging lab. Photo: Ivar Pel

ARCNL and VU group leader Stefan Witte has been awarded a VICI grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO), in the domain Applied and Engineering Sciences (TTW), for his project ‘Extreme-ultraviolet nano-imaging with extreme speed and sensitivity’. The total grant amount is 1.5 million euro.

The proposed high-speed, single-photon-sensitive EUV imaging concept. A multichannel plate, phosphor screen and TPX3cam assembly will be used for time-resolved detection of single EUV photons, for fast lensless imaging of nanostructured objects.

Imaging with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation forms an enticing prospect for nanotechnology, because of its unique combination of high spatial resolution, penetration depth, and element-specific contrast on a wide variety of materials. In particular, compact EUV microscopes based on high-harmonic generation (HHG) sources hold promise as versatile laboratory-scale microscope systems for materials science. However, technical limitations have so far prevented this promise to be truly fulfilled. While HHG sources are improving rapidly, new detection and measurement schemes are needed to enable fast and efficient nano-imaging.

In this VICI project, Witte and his team will introduce a new approach to EUV imaging, optimized for high-repetition-rate HHG sources. Together with the industrial partners ASML and ASI, they will develop a single-photon-counting image sensor with shot-noise-limited sensitivity, which can even record data on rapidly moving samples. Through the project, fast HHG-based imaging of nanostructures will become possible, enabling a wealth of applications in semiconductor and materials science applications.