The use of lithium fluoride (LiF) crystals and films as imaging detectors for EUV and soft-x-ray radiation is discussed. The EUV or soft-x-ray radiation can generate stable color centers, emitting in the visible spectral range an intense fluorescence from the exposed areas. The high dynamic response of the material to the received dose and the atomic scale of the color centers make this detector extremely interesting for imaging at a spatial resolution which can be much smaller than the light wavelength. Experimental results of contact microscopy imaging of test meshes demonstrate a resolution of the order of 400 nm. This high spatial resolution has been obtained in a wide field of view, up to several mm2. Images obtained on different biological samples, as well as an investigation of a soft x-ray laser beam are presented. The behavior of the generated color centers density as a function of the deposited x-ray dose and the advantages of this new diagnostic technique for both coherent and noncoherent EUV sources, compared with CCDs detectors, photographic films, and photoresists are discussed.
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