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A picosecond excimer laser–plasma source has been constructed, which generates an x-ray average power of 2.2 and 1.4 W at the wavelengths required for proximity x-ray lithography: 1.4 nm (steel target) and 1 nm (copper target), respectively. The plasma source could be scaled to the 50–75 W x-ray average power required for industrial lithographic production by scaling the total average power of the commercial excimer laser system up to 1 kW. The 1 nm x-ray source is used to micromachine a 2.5 THz microwave waveguide–cavity package with a 48 μm deep, three-dimensional structure, using the LIGA technique. The 1 nm x-ray source is also used to print 180 nm long transistor gates in the fabrication process of field-effect transistors. © 1997 American Vacuum Society.