August 11, 2011 – Qcept Technologies’ non-visual defect (NVD) inspection technology is being used by advanced logic, memory, and analog IC manufacturers. In a video interview at SEMICON West 2011, Qcept EVP Robert Newcomb discussed the differing end user needs with respect to inspection challenges. There are two types of customers, explained Newcomb, those on the leading edge where the focus is on new materials, yield and how they can drive yield improvements from ramp up to high-volume production. And then there are the mainstream fabs (i.e., traditional 200mm fabs and mainstream 300mm fabs) that are yielding at high rates, and though they are always looking to improve yield, these fabs are looking for ways to reduce costs, have more eco-friendly processes, and getting a better overall mix of yield/cost benefit as they generate analog products on older processes.
As the industry goes from 22nm and below, Newcomb noted that defectivity issues are being driven by low-k dielectrics getting thinner, high-k/metal gate processes, and immersion lithography. "NVDs are impacting integration schemes and yield programs," said Newcomb, "and these will become even more prevalent at 22nm, especially with advanced architectures." Amid the challenges, Qcept Technologies as a company believes that it has to find creative ways to partner with both equipment suppliers and device manufacturers.