FEI launches three new tools for next-generation semiconductor manufacturing

FEI announced today the release of three new tools for process control and defect/failure analysis in advanced semiconductor manufacturing. Two of the tools are specifically targeted at the 7nm node, and all are designed to allow manufacturers to address critical production issues with industry-leading time-to-data, throughput and low cost-per-sample.

“Perhaps more than any other industry, time is money in advanced semiconductor manufacturing,” said Rob Krueger, vice president and general manager of FEI’s Semiconductor Business. “The time required to analyze a sample affects the cost-per-sample directly, but even more importantly, the time required to answer critical production questions can reduce losses and increase production of the entire process. These new tools are the first on the market to allow fast, automated analysis of critical structures that are 7nm and smaller, enabling manufacturers to develop and scale new processes faster, and get new products to market sooner and more profitably than their competitors.”

The Helios G4 DualBeam EXL is a flexible, full-wafer, in-lab or in-fab DualBeam (focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope – FIB/SEM) system. In addition to performing the full range of sectioning, imaging and analyzing functions typical of DualBeam applications in semiconductor manufacturing, it is the only commercially-available full-wafer system in the market today capable of preparing transmission electron microscope (TEM) samples as thin as 7nm. The new Phoenix FIB column and monochromated Elstar SEM column deliver more precise milling with less surface damage and higher resolution imaging. Automation greatly reduces the difficulty, while also improving the speed and reproducibility of the sample preparation process.

The Metrios DX TEM incorporates new high-speed X-ray compositional analysis in conjunction with fully-automated workflows to improve defect analysis throughput by up to 50 percent. An automated aberration corrector improves low-voltage operation to minimize beam damage in ultrathin samples without sacrificing imaging resolution. Automated connectivity to upstream preparation tools minimizes operator interaction with the sample and improves data integrity. The Metrios DX is the only commercially-available fully-automated TEM in the market with the resolution required for process control and root cause analysis at the 7nm node.

The ExSolve 2 WTP is a dedicated, automated full-wafer DualBeam TEM sample preparation system capable of creating thin samples for 10nm and 14nm processes. This second generation ExSolve offers a 40 percent improvement in sample thickness, 50 percent better placement accuracy relative to its predecessor, while delivering  25 percent reduction in capex relative semi-automated/manual techniques. Automated sample preparation with ExSolve is two to three times faster than manual or small DualBeam procedures. The new ExSolve also adds semi-automated defect analysis capability for certain surface defects.


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