SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- To help 300-mm chipmakers achieve rapid, accurate wafer and process tool dispositioning across multiple process modules, KLA-Tencor (Nasdaq: KLAC) today unveiled the Viper 2435 automated dispositioning system. The Viper 2435 captures the broadest range of critical defects while filtering out nuisance, enabling it to deliver quick go/no-go indicators that allow chipmakers to take corrective action before excursions become costly yield problems. Designed to provide high dispositioning accuracy at high throughput, the Viper 2435 is a production-worthy solution with a 67 percent lower cost of ownership than manual inspection. Available as a field upgrade from earlier Viper 2430 systems, the Viper 2435 is part of a portfolio of inspection, review and analysis products from KLA-Tencor that work together to deliver the lowest overall cost of inspection to fabs worldwide. As the volume of semiconductor product moving through 300-mm fabs continues to increase, process- and tool-induced excursions carry a greater yield impact. As a result, higher sampling rates are required to capture excursions early in the process, before they cause production problems downstream or, worse, lead to yield loss. The ability to quickly disposition wafers and process tools enables fabs to take swift corrective actions: reworking or scrapping a wafer, and resolving any process module or process tool problems. Since the defect types that cause yield loss vary widely by process module, using an inspector designed to capture one or two specific defect types is not the best approach for dispositioning systems. They must be capable of detecting a broad range of defects-including unexpected defect types-from scanner- and track-induced defects in lithography, to polisher- induced defects in chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) and pattern failure at etch. KLA-Tencor's new Viper 2435 addresses these cost- and quality-related challenges by providing the broadest capture of critical defect types in the industry, at sampling rates of up to 100 wafers per hour. Using the Viper 2435 at the lithography, CMP, etch and films modules, a fab can quickly flag wafers having killer defects that require corrective action, while bypassing wafers having nuisance defects that simply consume production time. Since the tool is integrated with KLA-Tencor's Klarity(R) Defect data management software, fabs can implement a streamlined, automated yield and root-cause analysis strategy that enables faster time from data to decisions. Its process-node independence, along with a roadmap for continued platform development, make the Viper 2435 a highly extendible disposition solution as fabs move to smaller design rules and new materials. Experience yields best-of-breed dispositioning solution An evolutionary progression from the company's widely adopted Viper 2430 platform, the Viper 2435 was designed with several enhancements to boost its capabilities: -- Simultaneous brightfield and darkfield inspection channels capture the broadest range of defect types, and enable high throughput -- A user-friendly interface allows operators to generate robust, stable recipes in minutes -- Full factory automation enables rapid integration into production -- Advanced discrimination algorithms, along with adaptive thresholding techniques, strengthen the tool's nuisance suppression capabilities -- Full frontside, edge damage, and optional backside inspection provide extended wafer coverage -- New recipe optimization tools, a wafer-less setup capability, and improved data review tools augment the system's production-worthiness "Our customers today increasingly face the combined impact of shorter product lifecycles and rapidly eroding price points within each lifecycle. Consequently, the economics of speed -- getting to market more quickly at high volume and high yield -- have become the primary profitability driver," said Mike Kirk, group vice president of KLA-Tencor's Wafer Inspection Group. "As they ramp new processes into production, our customers need quick access to the right tools to reach their device performance and yield goals. The Viper 2435's demonstrated ability to accurately and rapidly disposition process tools and wafers can fully support their high-volume manufacturing requirements." The Viper 2435 is currently shipping in volume production. KLA-Tencor will showcase its latest yield management and process control products, including the Viper 2435, at SPIE Microlithography 2006 from Feb. 21 to Feb. 22 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif. 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 Klarity is a registered trademark of KLA-Tencor.