ST Microelectronics Achieves Exceptional Results on Applied Materials' Copper CMP System with Integrated Nova Metrology

The 200mm Applied Mirra Mesa(TM) CMP System with NovaScan 2020 Copper

Metrology Elevates Productivity, Improves Process Control for Copper Chips

Dec 23, 2003, 00:00 ET from Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd.

    REHOVOTH, Israel, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nova Measuring
 Instruments Ltd. (Nasdaq:   NVMI) announced that Applied Materials, Inc. has
 completed a comprehensive evaluation program together with STMicroelectronics
 (ST) in Crolles, France, that demonstrated superior results using the 200mm
 Applied Mirra Mesa CMP system, configured with the NovaScan 2020 Copper
 integrated metrology unit. ST found that this integrated system is highly
 accurate in the measurement of erosion and the detection of copper residue.
 These demonstrated capabilities are key to enabling the reduction of scrap and
 the improvement of cycle time at the Crolles-1 facility.
     Dominique Labrunye, Director of Process and Equipment Engineering at
 STMicroelectronics, Crolles, said, "The exceptional performance of the Applied
 Mirra Mesa system with Nova integrated metrology has shown a capability to
 increase the productivity of our dual damascene copper CMP process. Our joint
 work with Applied Materials and Nova has helped identify a key enabler to
 cycle time reduction as well as improvements in both equipment and fab
     The evaluation of Nova's in-line Copper metrology system on an Applied
 Mirra Mesa polisher was conducted over a six-month period at ST's Crolles site
 using its copper production process and production wafers. ST found that the
 integrated technology demonstrated the capability to eliminate the need for
 off-line, stand-alone monitoring by collecting and analyzing process data from
 every wafer immediately after polishing. Its ability to monitor process
 excursions helped shorten ramp time and improve yield.
     Russell Ellwanger, Vice President and General Manager of Applied
 Materials' Planarization and Plating Product Business Group, said, "Our joint
 copper CMP program with ST and Nova is extremely beneficial and has helped us
 develop the advanced capabilities of the Applied Mirra Mesa system for copper
 technology. The combination of enhanced polishing precision, higher device
 yield and improved system operating performance is a powerful advantage for
 our customers who want to minimize the difficulties of moving to a new chip
     The non-contact, non-intrusive optical measurement technology of the
 NovaScan 2020 Copper unit on the Applied Mirra Mesa CMP system uses
 spectrophotometric technology to measure and detect copper and barrier metal
 residues as well as erosion of the copper arrays, enabling improved control of
 the polish process and the elimination of time-consuming off-line
 measurements. The NovaScan 2020 Copper technology is used in combination with
 Applied Materials' existing on-board monitoring tools, iScan and FullScan,
 which precisely control over polishing and measure copper film thickness, to
 provide the tightest possible wafer-to-wafer control. The Nova unit is
 available on the Applied Mirra(R) and Applied Reflexion(R) CMP systems.
     Dr. Giora Dishon, CEO of Nova Measuring Instruments, said, "Our success at
 ST with the Nova 2020 Copper demonstrates the tremendous potential of this
 technology for 90nm volume manufacturing. Besides being a key step in the
 strategic effort between Applied Materials and Nova to develop advanced
 process control for copper CMP, it also validates our approach to combining
 multi-channel Spectrophotometry and image processing in one tool."
     About Nova
     Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd. (Nasdaq:   NVMI) develops, designs and
 produces integrated process control systems for the semiconductor
 manufacturing industry. Nova provides a broad range of integrated process
 control solutions that link different semiconductor processes and process
 equipment. The Company's website is
     About Applied Materials
     Applied Materials (Nasdaq:   AMAT) is the largest supplier of products and
 services to the global semiconductor industry. Applied Materials' web site is
      Company Contact:
      Chai Toren, CFO and Vice President
      Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd.
      Tel: 972-8-938-7505
      Investor relations Contacts:
      Ehud Helft / Kenny Green
      Gal IR International
      Tel: +1-866-704-6710
      E-mail :

SOURCE Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd.