Hydrogen interaction with ruthenium is of particular importance for the ruthenium-capped multilayer reflectors used in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Hydrogen causes blistering, which leads to a loss of reflectivity. This problem is aggravated by tin. This study aims to uncover the mechanism via which tin affects the hydrogen uptake, with a view to mitigation. We report here the results of a study of hydrogen interaction with the ruthenium surface in the presence of tin using Density Functional Theory and charge density analyses. Our calculations show a significant drop in the energy barrier to hydrogen penetration when a tin atom or a tin hydride molecule (SnHx
) is adsorbed on the ruthenium surface; the barrier has been found to drop in all tested cases with tin, from 1.06 eV to as low as 0.28 eV in the case of stannane (SnH4
). Analyses show that, due to charge transfer from the less electronegative tin to hydrogen and ruthenium, charge accumulates around the diffusing hydrogen atom and near the ruthenium surface atoms. The reduced atomic volume of hydrogen, together with the effect of electron–electron repulsion from the ruthenium surface charge, facilitates subsurface penetration. Understanding the nature of tin’s influence on hydrogen penetration will guide efforts to mitigate blistering damage of EUV optics. It also holds great interest for applications where hydrogen penetration is desirable, such as hydrogen storage.
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