The two-color, double-pulse method is an efficient scheme to generate extreme ultraviolet light for fabricating the next generation semiconductor microchips. In this method, a Nd:YAG laser pulse is used to expand a several-tens-of-micrometers-scale tin droplet, and a CO2 laser pulse is subsequently directed at the expanded tin vapor after an appropriate delay time. We propose the use of shadowgraphy with a CO2 laser probe-pulse scheme to optimize the CO2 main-drive laser. The distribution of absorption coefficients is derived from the experiment, and the results are converted to a practical absorption rate for the CO2 main-drive laser.
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