The final qualification of masks for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography may require defect inspection utilizing EUV radiation. To properly address inspection of masks for the 0.07-micrometer technology generation targeted by EUV lithography, the overall defect sensitivity requirements and scaling trends in inspection of patterned masks are discussed. To achieve the data acquisition rates of several hundred megapixels/sec required during inspection of 0.07-micrometer technology masks and to maintain light intensities below the damage threshold of mask materials, simultaneous acquisition of the inspection signal from multiple pixels on the mask, rather than the serial pixel data collection currently used in many mask inspection tools, will become necessary. The high data rates needed for future mask inspection technologies impose requirements on the minimum pulse repetition rate of the light source used in the inspection and influence the EUV mask inspection system design options. EUV light sources that either produce continuous-wave radiation or operate at pulse repetition rates of at least 10 - 100 kHz will be needed for mask inspection relevant to EUV technology, assuming that data from 104 or more pixels can be measured in parallel. The average EUV light source power requirements for an at- wavelength, bright-field EUV mask inspection system are estimated to be on the order of 1 W. The basic technologies for sources, optics, and detectors needed for at-wavelength EUV mask inspection currently exist but significant efforts to develop the numerous system components would be necessary to implement practical EUV mask inspection tools.© (1999) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.