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The mask shadowing effect is a unique phenomenon caused by a mirror-based mask structure and an oblique incident angle of light in the extreme ultraviolet lithography process. This results in a horizontal–vertical (H–V) bias, an ellipticity in the contact hole pattern and, eventually, a patterning limit and critical dimension (CD) nonuniformity. Reducing the absorber thickness is the most effective method to minimize the mask shadowing effect, but this can deteriorate the mask image contrast. In this paper, an attenuated phase shift mask (PSM) is proposed as a potential method for extending the patterning limit to below 16 nm. By applying Mo as a phase shift layer, which has a refractive index (n) similar to that of the TaN absorber but with a lower absorption value, thin attenuated PSMs with various reflectivity values were obtained by controlling the Mo thickness. The proposed PSM consists of a 16.5-nm-thick TaN absorber layer and a 24-nm-thick Mo phase shifter on 2-nm-thick Ru-capped Mo/Si multilayers. This attenuated PSM results in 17.98% and 27.52% reductions in the mask error enhancement factor as well as 3.65 and 1.84 nm reductions in the H–V CD bias compared with the conventional binary intensity mask with a 70-nm-thick TaN absorber for the 22 nm line and space 1:1 vertical dense pattern under 0.25 and 0.33 numerical aperture illumination conditions, respectively. Moreover, a 10%–12% improved image contrast was obtained with 11%–17% reflectivity on the absorber stack, which corresponds to a 24–29 nm Mo thickness under 0.25 NA illumination conditions.