KLA-Tencor addresses IC manufacturing challenges at SEMICON West

San Francisco, CA. KLA-Tencor chose SEMICON West to announce four new systems—the 2920 Series, the Puma 9850, the Surfscan SP5, and the eDR-7110. The systems are designed to address IC manufacturing challenges at the 1X-nm design node, according to Brian Trafas, Ph.D., chief marketing officer at the company. Those challenges, he said, relate to double- and quadruple-patterning, increased variability, 3-D devices, and novel materials, among others.

Meeting the challenges in a manufacturing environment involving hundreds of process steps requires pristine substrates and high surface quality, making it necessary to provide more sampling and monitoring to detect smaller defects despite the noise and dense patterns encountered in today's back-end-of-line (BEOL) environments. In fact, speaking at the imec Technology Forum (ITF) held Monday in conjunction with SEMICON West, Bobby Bell, executive vice president at KLA-Tencor, pointed out that if you have 1,000 process steps each with a yield of 99.5%, you essentially have zero yield overall.

Citing a theme heard often throughout the week of SEMICON West, Bell at ITF called for collaboration to address challenges related to 3-D devices, multiple patterning, scaling, increasing variability, and exotic new materials. A process window can have more than 30 million weak points, he said, and advised using design context for inspection. “Inspect the design locations that really matter,” he said.

KLA-Tencor's four new systems are the company's latest contributions to meeting the challenges facing the semiconductor industry. In an interview, Trafas said the 2920 Series broadband plasma patterned wafer inspector, Puma 9850 laser scanning patterned wafer inspector, and Surfscan SP5 unpatterned wafer defect inspection system deliver enhanced sensitivity and significant throughput gains for defect discovery and monitoring. The eDR-7110 e-beam review system serves defect identification applications.

The eDR-7110 includes a new SEM Automatic Defect Classification (S-ADC) engine that can produce an accurate representation of the defect population during production and can be used during development to dramatically reduce the time required for defect discovery. Moreover, S-ADC results can automatically trigger additional in-line tests, such as compositional analysis or imaging with alternative modes, while the wafer is still on the eDR-7110—a capability that enhances the quality of the defect information provided to engineers for process decisions.

By enabling discovery and monitoring of yield-critical defects, the 2920 Series, Puma 9850, and Surfscan SP% support chipmakers’ integration of complex structures, novel materials, and new processes at leading-edge design nodes. Each of the inspection systems seamlessly connects with the eDR-7110.

Key technologies in the 2920 Series include a third-generation broadband plasma illumination source that delivers twice the light of its predecessor, enabling the use of a new deep ultra violet (DUV) wavelength band and the industry’s smallest optical inspection pixel.

New advanced algorithms offer enhanced control for noise and boost sensitivity to subtle pattern defects on complex IC device architectures, such as FinFETs. In addition, the 2920 Series include Accu-ray and Flex Aperture technologies that can quickly determine the best optical settings for capture of critical defect types, significantly reducing the time required to discover and solve process and design issues. Trafas said Accu-ray and Flex Aperture technology offer a 4X reduction in time required to determine the best optical mode and provide 2X higher accuracy. The technologies, he said, have been fab-proven to enable the discovery of yield-limiting defect types in one day.

With multiple platform enhancements, the Puma 9850 laser scanning patterned wafer defect inspection system provides improved sensitivity across a range of production throughputs to support a diverse array of FinFET and advanced memory inspection applications. Complementing the 2920 Series inspectors, the Puma 9850’s higher sensitivity operating modes facilitate yield-relevant defect capture on after-develop inspection (ADI), photo-cell monitor (PCM), and front-end-of-line line-space etch layers. Higher speed modes, operating at up to twice the throughput of the Puma 9650, allow for cost-effective excursion monitoring in the film and chemical-mechanical planarization (CMP) process modules.

Trafas explained that the 2920 Series broadband plasma inspectors offer high capture rates compared with laser-scanning alternatives, while the Puma 9850 offers a low cost of ownership.

The Surfscan SP5 unpatterned wafer inspector incorporates enhanced DUV optical technologies that produce sub-20-nm defect sensitivity at production throughput, enabling detection of tiny substrate or blanket film defects that can inhibit successful integration of multi-stack IC devices. With throughput up to three times faster than the previous-generation Surfscan SP3, the Surfscan SP5 maintains high productivity while qualifying and monitoring the increased number of process steps associated with multi-patterning and other leading-edge fabrication techniques.



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