KLA-Tencor Announces New Archer™ 500 Overlay Metrology System

Overlay Error Measurements for Development and High Volume Manufacturing of Multiple-Patterning Process Layers at Sub-28nm Design Nodes

Sep 05, 2012, 16:15 ET from KLA-Tencor Corporation

MILPITAS, Calif., Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ: KLAC) announced the Archer 500, a new overlay metrology system for leading-edge chip manufacturers. Designed to address the complex overlay challenges associated with single- and multi-patterning lithography techniques at advanced design nodes, the Archer 500 measures and characterizes overlay error with improved precision, accuracy and measurement speed compared to its predecessor, the widely adopted Archer 300. With significant contrast enhancements, the Archer 500 expands overlay measurement capability beyond current-generation lithography stacks to new lithography layers, including challenging thin resist stacks, and new materials such as opaque hard masks. 

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"In order to continue scaling devices to meet Moore's law, chip manufacturers are extending 193nm immersion lithography using multi-patterning techniques and are assessing non-traditional patterning technologies, such as directed self-assembly," said Noam Knoll, vice president and general manager of the Overlay Metrology Division at KLA-Tencor. "In addition to increasing the number of required overlay measurements, lithographers' adoption and exploration of double-, triple-, quadruple- and other innovative patterning techniques at shrinking design rules drive very strict overlay specifications. Our new Archer 500 and innovative multi-layer overlay measurement target support today's complex patterning processes by providing lithographers with highly precise, fast feedback on layer-to-layer and within-layer overlay error. We believe the Archer 500 will serve a key role in enabling complete lithography overlay control for these advanced patterning technologies."

Within the lithography cell, the Archer 500 serves as an independent source of overlay metrology data. The Archer 500's fast measurement speed and high precision enable thorough overlay characterization on wafers after patterning to help verify that pattern features have been correctly aligned to previously-patterned features, located on either the same layer or a prior process layer. For high volume manufacturing, the Archer 500 is designed to identify wafers with overlay error exceeding the required specifications, helping lithographers accurately disposition wafers and decide when to address variations in process tool performance.

The advanced capabilities of the Archer 500 include:

  • Tighter precision and total measurement uncertainty (TMU) compared to the previous-generation Archer 300, delivering the strict specifications required for overlay control on leading-edge devices;
  • Fast move-acquire-measurement (MAM) time and high throughput, allowing lithographers to take more measurements across the wafer for improved process characterization and control; and
  • A new, multi-layer design for the overlay metrology target, offering an innovative approach for measuring numerous combinations of intra- and inter-layer overlay data from the same target image on multi-patterning layers.

Multiple orders have been received, including several repeat orders, for Archer 500 tools from leading logic and memory chip manufacturers. Systems have already been shipped for use in advanced development and production lines. Archer 500 models are designed to be matched among themselves and to previous-generation Archer 200 and Archer 300 systems, preserving the factory's baseline and enabling seamless, rapid production integration. The Archer 500 is part of KLA-Tencor's comprehensive overlay metrology solution, which also includes K-T Analyzer, an advanced overlay analysis system, and Recipe Database Manager (RDM), a centralized database of production-proven recipe components. To maintain high performance and productivity, the Archer 500 tools are backed by KLA-Tencor's global, comprehensive service network. For more information on KLA-Tencor's Archer overlay metrology systems, please visit the product web page at: http://www.kla-tencor.com/metrology/archer-series.html.

About KLA-Tencor:

KLA-Tencor Corporation, a leading provider of process control and yield management solutions, partners with customers around the world to develop state-of-the-art inspection and metrology technologies. These technologies serve the semiconductor, data storage, LED, photovoltaic, and other related nanoelectronics industries. With a portfolio of industry-standard products and a team of world-class engineers and scientists, the company has created superior solutions for its customers for more than 35 years. Headquartered in Milpitas, Calif., KLA-Tencor has dedicated customer operations and service centers around the world. Additional information may be found at www.kla-tencor.com (KLAC-P).

Forward Looking Statements:

Statements in this press release other than historical facts, such as statements regarding the Archer 500's expected performance, trends in the semiconductor industry and the anticipated challenges associated with them, expected uses of the Archer 500 by KLA-Tencor's customers, expected compatibility of the Archer 500 with other Archer tools, and the anticipated cost, operational and other benefits realizable by users of the Archer 500 tools, are forward-looking statements, and are subject to the Safe Harbor provisions created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current information and expectations, and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in such statements due to various factors, including delays in the adoption of new technologies (whether due to cost or performance issues or otherwise), the introduction of competing products by other companies or unanticipated technological challenges or limitations that affect the implementation, performance or use of KLA-Tencor's products.

SOURCE KLA-Tencor Corporation