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This article describes the first commercially available state‐of‐the‐art x‐ray stepper, the Karl Suss XRS200/3, installed at the IBM Advanced Lithography Facility (ALF) at the end of 1991. ALF was built for the development of x‐ray lithography for future generations of electronics devices [G. Lesoine, K. Kukkanen, and J. Leavey, Proc. SPIE 1263, 131 (1990)]. This stepper is attached to the first lithography beamline in ALF [J. Oberschmidt, R. Rippstein, R. Ruckel, A. Chen, J. Grandlund, and A. Palumbo, Proc. SPIE 1671, 324 (1992)]. The architecture of the tool and its two main improvements, (a) kinematic mask handling and (b) alignment system, will be discussed. Then the qualification test methodology and resulting data on key lithographic properties and throughput will be presented.