Paul van Gerven
1 March 2022

ARCNL and VU group leader Stefan Witte has been awarded a 1.5-million-euro Vici grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). He’ll use the grant to set up and run his project “Extreme-ultraviolet nano-imaging with extreme speed and sensitivity.”

EUV imaging ARCNL
Credit: ARCNL

Imaging with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation offers a 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 the 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’ll 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.