KLA-Tencor Pioneers Wafer-Edge Inspection Solution for Advanced IC Manufacturing

Oct 25, 2006, 01:00 ET from KLA-Tencor

    SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In a move designed
 to help IC manufacturers realize greater 300-mm yield entitlement,
 KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq:   KLAC) today unveiled its new VisEdge CV300
 edge-inspection system. Representing the semiconductor industry's first
 inspection solution capable of meeting the full range of wafer-edge
 inspection requirements in a production environment, the VisEdge CV300
 leverages proven Optical Surface Analyzer (OSA) technology from
 KLA-Tencor's acquisition of Candela Instruments. With many advanced IC
 manufacturers facing an average of 10 to 50 percent greater yield loss at
 the wafer's edge relative to their best yielding region, a comprehensive
 inspection strategy that includes advanced edge inspection is critical.
 Built on a highly extendible platform, the tool's combination of unique
 optics design and advanced defect classification capabilities allows IC
 manufacturers to overcome the limitations of existing edge-inspection
 techniques and enable broader capture and better distinction of edge
 defectivity to increase yield.
     With OSA technology at its heart, the VisEdge CV300 offers the unique
 advantage of complete wafer-edge scanning and capture of both macro- and
 micro-based defects with high sensitivity. Unlike traditional
 edge-inspection systems, the VisEdge CV300's simultaneous multi-channel
 signal acquisition technology combines four detection methods
 (scatterometry, reflectometry, phase shift and optical beam deflection) to
 achieve greater accuracy and purity in capturing defect sources that cause
 a variety of problems, including small particles, stains and film
 delamination, while eliminating the need for repeat scans. Advanced
 rules-based defect classification software with robust signal enhancement
 and smart filtering routines eliminates edge background noise -- a problem
 worsened by the severe topography at the wafer's edge that impairs the
 detection capabilities of other inspection techniques -- to highlight
 defects of interest and enable fast identification of defect types.
 KLA-Tencor's OSA inspection technology has been proven in production for
 advanced inspection applications, with more than 300 installations
 worldwide, and is highly extendible to meet future inspection requirements.
     Historically, wafer-edge defectivity has been primarily physical in
 nature, such as chips or cracks. With the transition to 300-mm production
 and sub-90-nm design rules, demanding process integration challenges due to
 increased device and stack complexity have given rise to a new class of
 edge-related defects. For example, residue from chemical mechanical
 planarization (CMP) or etch processes can create interfacial stresses or
 poor adhesions of film layers, which in turn lead to blister defects or
 peeling. These defects can then migrate onto patterned areas during
 subsequent processing and cause significant yield losses or transfer to
 process tools resulting in long tool downtimes. The use of wet chemistries
 in advanced wafer processing, such as in immersion lithography, can
 compound this problem.
     "In dry lithography, process control on the wafer's edge is well
 understood. This is not the case with immersion lithography, where the
 wafer edge temporarily comes in contact with water from the immersion hood,
 which can cause particles to move back and forth between the edge area and
 the scanner," stated Kurt Ronse, director of lithography at IMEC, Europe's
 leading independent nanoelectronics and nanotechnology research center.
 "Having the ability to inspect the full wafer edge -- top, side and bottom
 -- and not just the flat top of the edge is essential to the development
 and maturation of immersion lithography. Until today, however, the lack of
 a comprehensive and robust edge-inspection solution has made it difficult
 to detect and control defects on the non-flat part of the wafer's edge. We
 look forward to working with KLA-Tencor in addressing this critical need."
     "Working in close collaboration with our customers to identify yield
 roadblocks on the horizon, it quickly became clear to us that wafer-edge
 yield issues are a very serious and growing problem with no adequate
 inspection solution available," stated Jeff Donnelly, vice president and
 general manager of the Growth and Emerging Markets Division at KLA-Tencor.
 "To fulfill this critical need, we developed the VisEdge CV300. Already,
 this leading-edge system has demonstrated excellent defect source detection
 and classification at multiple customer sites involved in beta evaluations,
 and we believe it will play a critical role in enabling our customers'
 production success with their next-generation processes."
     KLA-Tencor will begin shipping the VisEdge CV300 to customers in the
 first calendar quarter of 2007.
     About KLA-Tencor: KLA-Tencor is the world leader in yield management
 and process control solutions for semiconductor manufacturing and related
 industries. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the company has sales and
 service offices around the world. An S&P 500 company, KLA-Tencor is traded
 on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol KLAC. Additional information
 about the company is available on the Internet at http://www.kla-tencor.com