New Inspection Tool From KLA-Tencor Captures Broadest Range of Defects for Rapid, Cost-Effective and Accurate Wafer and Tool Dispositioning

New Viper 2435 system enables swift corrective action with prompt go/no-go


Feb 09, 2006, 00:00 ET from KLA-Tencor

    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
     -- 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
     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
     Klarity is a registered trademark of KLA-Tencor.