KLA-Tencor Announces Novel Defect Discovery and Monitoring Technology

NanoPoint™ enables fast, practical design qualification and highly sensitive process monitoring by leveraging critical patterns

Apr 23, 2013, 16:15 ET from KLA-Tencor Corporation

MILPITAS, Calif., April 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ: KLAC) announced NanoPoint, a new family of patented technologies for its 2900 Series defect inspection system. NanoPoint represents an entirely new way to discover and monitor defects, at optical speed and on existing optical defect inspection equipment. NanoPoint's value has already been demonstrated on early metal layers, where line-edge roughness (LER) on dense pattern had previously limited the ability to detect tiny yield-killing defects inline at advanced nodes.

"Our customers are highly motivated to continue to extend optical inline defect inspection beyond the 20nm node," said Keith Wells, vice president and general manager of the Wafer Inspection (WIN) Division at KLA-Tencor. "They want the speed and baseline preservation that only optical inspection can provide—and our challenge is to design equipment that can discover defects whose size is further and further below the inspection wavelength. In the past we have offered various improvements to the light source, optics and other subsystems, but NanoPoint addresses the issue from a new angle. Based on customer feedback, I believe that NanoPoint is a breakthrough technology with the potential for applicability across a broad range of layers and process modules."

NanoPoint focuses the resources of the optical inspection system on critical patterns, as identified either by circuit designers or by known defect sites. During chip development, NanoPoint can reveal the need for mask re-design within hours, potentially accelerating the identification and resolution of design issues from months to days. During volume production, NanoPoint can selectively track defectivity within critical patterns—allowing process monitoring with sensitivity and speed far beyond the industry's experience to date.

Backed by several new patents, the NanoPoint technology is a product of KLA-Tencor's commitment to long-term R&D, within both the WIN Division and KT Labs, the research arm of the office of the Chief Technology Officer, Ben Tsai, Ph.D. Multiple NanoPoint systems have been installed at leading logic, foundry and memory chip manufacturers in North America, Europe and Asia. To learn more about the NanoPoint technology, please visit KLA-Tencor's 2900 Series product web page.

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, LED 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 http://www.kla-tencor.com (KLAC-P).

Forward Looking Statements: Statements in this press release other than historical facts, such as statements regarding the expected performance of NanoPoint technology or the 2900 Series defect inspection system, trends in the semiconductor industry and the anticipated challenges associated with them, expected uses of the NanoPoint technology or the 2900 Series tools by KLA-Tencor's customers, and the anticipated cost, operational and other benefits realizable by users of NanoPoint technology or the 2900 Series 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