The current industry plan is for EUV Lithography (EUVL) to enter High Volume Manufacturing (HVM) in the 2019/20 timeframe at about the 16nm half-pitch node (16hp). Reticle quality and reticle defects continue to be a top industry risk. The primary reticle defect quality requirement continues to be defined as “no reticle defects causing 10% or larger CD errors on wafer”. Traditionally, mask shops and mask blank manufacturers have been using bright field confocal technology to perform mask blank qualification. However, due to more stringent defect requirements for EUV blank defects, and the difficulty in detecting and repairing any mask defects caused by a blank defect, the industry requires a new approach to detect defects to support 16 nm hp EUV manufacturing. To meet these emerging requirements, we have developed a new dark field imaging system for photomask blank inspection. This system can be used in the blank manufacturing process to inspect the quartz blank, to inspect after film deposition, and to inspect the finished blank after resist coating. In the mask shop, the same system can be used to inspect an uncoated blank prior to resist coating, or to perform incoming inspection on a finished blank, prior to writing. In this paper, we report on the initial results from this new system on a range of programmed defect blanks as well as production photomask blanks. Inspection results will be shown on a variety of substrates, both for EUV blanks as well as optical blanks.