Juan I. Larruquert
Sub-quarterwave multilayer coatings with more than two different materials are shown to provide a reflectance enhancement compared with the standard two-material multilayer coatings when reflectance is limited by material absorption. A remarkable reflectance enhancement is obtained when the materials in the multilayer are moderately absorbing. A simple rule based on the material optical constants is provided to select the most suitable materials for the multilayer and to arrange the materials in the correct sequence in order to obtain the highest possible reflectance. It is shown that sub-quarterwave multilayers generalize the concept of multilayers, of which the standard two-material multilayers are a particular case. Various examples illustrate the benefit of sub-quarterwave multilayer coatings for highest reflectance in the extreme ultraviolet. Applications for sub-quarterwave multilayer coatings are envisaged for astronomy in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and soft x rays and also for future EUV lithography.