With the advent of the first immersion and hyper-NA exposure tools, source polarization quality will become a hot topic. At these oblique incident angles, unintentional source polarization could result in the intensity loss of diffraction orders possibly inducing resolution or process window loss. Measuring source polarization error on a production lithographic exposure tool is very cumbersome, but it is possible to reverse engineer any source error similarly to what has been accomplished with intensity error. As noted in the intensity maps from the source illumination, it is not safe to assume an ideal or binary source map, so model fitness is improved by emulating the real error. Likewise, by varying the source polarization types (TE, TM, Linear X and Linear Y) and ratios to obtain improved model fitness, one could deduce the residual source polarization error. This paper will show the resolution and process window gain from utilizing source polarization in immersion lithography. It will include a technique demonstrating how to extract source polarization error from empirical data using the Calibre model and will document the modeling inaccuracy from this error.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.