Production fabs are constantly balancing the cost of manufacturing against yield. As device sizes shrink, there is an additional factor with which lithography engineers and fab manager must now content: the relationship between reticle cleaning and printed image quality. It is well known that reticles require maintenance in order to provide high-quality images necessary for device yield. Historically, reticles made of chrome and quartz protected with a pellicle were relatively simple to clean and maintain. Unless there was handling damage, reticles had a long service life. When cleaning was required, traditional chemical cleaning processes, complimented by soft brush scrubbing were quite effective. Even though the cleaning changed the reticle characteristics, the allowance was large enough to enable a few cleaning cycles prior to reticle "retirement."