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Extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) is one of the leading candidates for next-generation lithography in the sub-45 nm regime. Successful implementation of this technology will depend upon advancements in many areas, including the quality of the mask system to control image placement errors. Such errors will occur at the wafer as a result of height variations of the patterned (frontside) mask surface (i.e., its nonflatness). The Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International EUVL Mask Standard (SEMI P37) specifies that the mask frontside and backside nonflatness be no more than 50 nm peak-to-valley (P-V). Currently, the lowest level of freestanding flatness of EUVL mask substrates from production-level polishing and finishing techniques is about 200 nm P-V. The frontside and backside of typical (and representative) EUVL substrates were measured for flatness and these surfaces were represented mathematically using Legendre polynomials. The Legendre coefficients were then utilized in a finite element model to predict the effect of chucking on the flatness of these substrates. One of the significant conclusions of this research is that the substrate thickness nonuniformity has a dominant effect on the flatness of the patterned surface after chucking.