KLA-Tencor uncrates metrology line-up for leading-edge semiconductor wafers

January 20, 2012 – PRNewswire — KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ:KLAC) launched 3 semiconductor wafer defect inspection systems: the 2900, Puma 9650, and eS800 series. The product suite is tailored to detect defects arising from new materials, device structures, and design rules in chip manufacturing. The 2900 is a completely new tool; the 9650 is an upgrade to the 9550 and the eS800 is an upgrade to the eS35 (existing tools can be upgraded).

The 2900 Series broadband optical wafer defect inspection platform captures defects on challenging layers and die areas, detecting yield-relevant defects as small as 10nm. The Puma 9650 Series narrowband optical wafer defect inspection system combines reported sensitivity and throughput in multi-layer metrology, including difficult gate etch layers. The eS800 Series e-beam wafer defect inspection platform captures extremely small defects, shallow residues, and defects inside deep narrow structures using high electron beam current density. All of the new systems share a graphical user interface, and all work with KLA-Tencor’s eDR-7000 e-beam wafer defect review system.

Leading-edge semiconductor manufacturers face a metrology challenge, identifying "tiny or subtle defects amidst pattern noise, deep inside a capacitor, or in otherwise difficult environments," said Mike Kirk, Ph.D., group vice president of the Wafer Inspection Group at KLA-Tencor. To address these, KLAC developed "more powerful light sources or electron guns, innovative signal shaping and a multifold approach to reducing noise."

The 2900 Series broadband optical wafer defect inspection platform delivers increased capture of small defects of interest on early process layers and back-end layers, with sensitivity approaching that of e-beam inspection in some cases. Its overall defect capture on after-develop inspection (ADI) layers rivals that of after-etch inspection (AEI) results, KLAC reports. The tool’s improved ADI performance means that the fab can identify killer defects earlier in the process. Features:

  • Second-generation PowerBroadband, a laser-pumped plasma light source that delivers about twice the light of the 2830’s original PowerBroadband source;
  • New optics providing significant resolution improvement at DUV wavelengths and dramatic optical noise reduction;
  • New 2D Directional E-Field, new brightfield and darkfield apertures, and new wavelength bands that can boost defect signal and/or reduce wafer noise;
  • New integrated XP design-aware recipe set-up and defect detection, for improved yield relevance;
  • New image computer, supporting increased throughput and algorithm advancements;
  • Redesigned stage for better defect location accuracy; and
  • New 12-bit dynamic range, enabling increased defect capture in high-contrast areas such as memory transition regions.

The Puma 9650 Series narrowband optical wafer defect inspection systems provide improved defect capture in yield-critical die areas, such as the edges of SRAM arrays, memory transition regions, and page breaks. Upgradeable from the Puma 9550 platform, it provides overall higher sensitivity to particles and pattern defects including bridges, residue and extra pattern on front-end etch layers. Features:

  • Smaller pixel to boost sensitivity to small defects, such as trench residue and extra pattern defects;
  • Innovations in pupil engineering to enhance sensitivity around cell edges;
  • New eFence technology to suppress interference from repeating patterns in page break and transition regions;
    Improvements to pattern suppression technology throughout the die; and
  • Extended dynamic range, to improve system response near array edges and in the periphery.

The eS800 Series e-beam inspection systems feature leading-edge physical and electrical defect capture on a wide range of layers and structures, the most challenging of which include defects inside deep trenches and vias, or at the very edges of DRAM and SRAM arrays. The line offers high enough throughput to scan large areas of the die to find electrical defect signatures such as under-etch, shorts or opens. Features:

  • New electron gun and proprietary optics that allow a higher beam current density in a smaller spot size, enabling higher sensitivity overall, the ability to inspect defects inside high aspect-ratio structures and higher throughput;
  • Wider operating conditions that allow better performance on less conductive layers such as low-k dielectrics, and better capture of subtle residue and under-etch defects;
    TurboScan methodology for inspecting contacts in NAND flash at up to ten times the speed of the eS35; and
  • Ability to capture both physical and electrical (voltage-contrast) defects with critical sensitivity in a single e-beam inspection system, allowing fabs flexibility in work routing and cost-effective use of this high-end inspection system.

The 2900, Puma 9650 and eS800 tools have been shipped to leading foundry, logic, and memory chip manufacturers for use in advanced development and production lines.

KLA-Tencor Corporation provides process control and yield management products including inspection and metrology technologies for the semiconductor, data storage, LED, photovoltaic, and other related nanoelectronics industries. Additional information may be found at www.kla-tencor.com. (KLAC-P)

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