The ability of optical lithography to steadily produce images at increasingly smaller dimension while maintaining pattern fidelity of devices with greater complexity has enabled the success of Moore’s Law. Although 193 nm immersion and double patterning techniques have proven successful in extending optical lithography, the strategies proposed for further extension are too costly to support device manufacturing. As a result, greater focus has been shifted to resolving the challenges hindering extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) adoption as the mainstream lithography solution. While similar to conventional optical lithography, there are unique challenges to EUVL, one of which is the change from transmission masks to the reflective masks required for EUVL. The use of reflective reticles greatly increases complexity of EUV reticle structure when compared to the binary masks used with optical lithography. Maximizing the reflectance an EUV mask requires the use of a multilayer Bragg reflector deposited on a finely polished substrate with a thin absorber film on top used to define the device pattern. Although similar in form to the substrates used in optical lithography, the tolerances on figure, surface finish, and defects are significantly more stringent for EUV substrates. Control of aberrations and maintaining pattern fidelity places tight constraints on the flatness and roughness of the EUV substrate; imperfections and particles can result in printable defects. The Bragg reflector of the EUV mask consists of 40 to 50 Si/Mo bi-layers deposited using an ion beam deposition tool. This film stack must be deposited to meet the reflectivity and uniformity requirements of the exposure tool and must be completely free of defects. The absorber film is typically a tantalum-based nitride layer selected for its ability to absorb EUV radiation and maintain thermal stability. The thickness and morphology of this film must be tightly controlled to enable use as the patterning film for the device. In addition to the increase in complexity of the mask, introduction of EUVL requires infrastructure development of new substrate, mask blank, and finished reticle inspection tools and techniques for handling and storage of a mask without a pellicle. This paper will highlight recent advances in the ability to produce pilot line quality EUV mask blanks to meet the near-term requirements and review the existing technology gaps which must be closed to extend the current capability to meet HVM needs. A special focus will be put on substrate and mask blank defect densities; other process and infrastructure challenges will also be discussed.