Differently prepared Ru-capping layers, deposited on Mo/Si EUV multilayers, have been characterized using a suite of metrologies to establish their baseline structural, optical, and surface properties in as-deposited state. The same capping layer structures were tested for their thermal stability and oxidation resistance. Post-mortem characterization identified changes due to accelerated tests. The best performing Ru-capping layer structure was studied in detail with transmission electron microscopy to identify the grain microstructure and texture. This information is essential for modeling and performance optimization of EUVL multilayers.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.