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This paper investigates the emission characteristics of a high-performance low-energy (3-kJ) repetitive dense plasma focus device, NX2, operated at up to 1-Hz repetition rate to develop it as an intense source of soft X-rays (SXR) for microlithography and micromachining. Various SXR yield optimization studies with argon and neon as filling gases were performed under different operating conditions (charging voltage, filling pressure, anode length, and insulator sleeve length). The SXR yield was computed using signals obtained from a PIN diode SXR spectrometer with appropriate filters. When operated in neon, the average optimum SXR (λ∼1 nm) yield in 4π steradians was found to be up to 140 J/shot, which corresponded to a wall plug efficiency of 5.6%. Operation in argon showed that optimized SXR (λ∼0.4 nm) yield was up to 1.3 J/shot. While operating with neon under optimized conditions with a water-cooled anode in repetitive mode, the NX2 device was used as a SXR source to imprint a test lithograph on a highly sensitive chemically-amplified resist SU-8. Test structures showing the effect of a stepper with aspect ratio 3:1 on 10-μm-thick SU-8 resist film were obtained.