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We present our results in the design and development of a multiple-beam x-ray pattern generator based on an array of Fresnel zone plates (FZPs). Exposures have been carried out using a synchrotron source at SuperACO (France), a PC-controlled piezoelectric scanning stage, and an array of FZPs fabricated by high resolution electron-beam lithography and reactive-ion etching of a tungsten absorber. In particular, we have implemented an array of apertures using a self-aligned process in order to minimize background intensity coming from diffraction orders other than the positive first order. We show that even with polychromatic synchrotron radiation and relatively low resolution FZPs, patterns of various geometries could be successfully written in poly(methylmethacrylate) resist and submicrometer resolution was obtained after metal liftoff. © 2000 American Vacuum Society.