Excimer lasers are widely used as the light source for microlithography scanners. The volume shipment of scanner systems using 193nm is projected to begin in year 2003. Such tools will directly start with super high numerical aperture (NA) in order to take full advantage of the 193nm wavelength over the advanced 248nm systems. Reliable high repetition rate laser light sources enabling high illumination power and wafer throughput are one of the fundamental prerequisites. In addition these light sources must support a very high NA imaging lens of more than 0.8 which determines the output spectrum of the laser to be less than 0.30 pm FWHM. In this paper we report on our recent progress in the development of high repetition rate ultra-narrow band lasers for high NA 193nm microlithography scanners. The laser, NovaLine A4003, is based on a Single Oscillator Ultral Line-narrowed (SOUL) design which yields a bandwidth of less than 0.30pm FWHM. The SOUL laser enables superior optical performance without adding complexity or cost up to the 4 kHz maximum repetition rate. The A4003's high precision line-narrowing optics used in combination with the high repetition rate of 4 kHz yields an output power of 20 W at an extremely narrow spectral bandwidth of less than 0.30 pm FWHM and highest spectral purity of less than 0.75 pm for the 95% energy content. We present performance and reliability data and discuss the key laser parameters. Improvements in the laser-internal metrology and faster regulation control result in better energy stability and improved overall operation behavior. The design considerations for line narrowing and stable laser operation at high repetition rates are discussed.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.