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An important feature of any advanced lithography technology is its cost-effective extension over several device generations beyond its introduction. Since SCALPEL is an electron imaging system with resolution not limited by diffraction, a unique extensibility analysis is needed to establish development pathways for the evolution of SCALPEL to the 50 nm generation and beyond. A combination of modest progress in four performance areas—effective optical field width, aberrations, acceptable dose latitude, and stage performance—will allow SCALPEL to maintain good throughput over several lithography generations without aggressive optical design scaling. © 2000 American Vacuum Society.