Resolution in microscopy and microlithography

  • US 5,952,668 A
  • Filed: 08/28/1997
  • Issued: 09/14/1999
  • Est. Priority Date: 07/15/1994
  • Status: Expired due to Term
First Claim
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1. In apparatus for irradiating a selected region of a target material containing a radiationally excitable species in order to excite members of said species, including a source of exciting radiation adapted to excite said members and focusing means to focus said radiation to a pattern having a central maximum at said selected region, a method of increasing the resolution of said apparatus including the steps of:

  • providing quenching radiation adapted to radiationally quench the excitation of said members;

    projecting said quenching radiation over a transmission path to said target material to form in said material a pattern of quenching radiation with a central minimum, such that within the central minimum, the intensity of quenching radiation generally increases with distance from the center of the central minimum and such that substantially any quenching light arriving at the center of that central minimum reaches the center only by way of scattering and undesired reflections occurring in the transmission path to and within the material; and

    overlapping said central minimum with said central maximum, whereby the center of said central minimum substantially coincides with the center of said central maximum and whereby, within said central minimum, an excited member of said species is quenched by said quenching radiation with an efficiency which generally increases with the distance of said member from the center of said central minimum.

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