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Bringing High-Resolution Reticle-, Aerial- and Wafer-Plane Inspection Capability to the 32nm Node

Published on April 7, 2009 at 12:42 AM

Today, KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ:KLAC) introduced the TeraScanXR, bringing high-resolution reticle-, aerial- and wafer-plane inspection capability to the 32nm node. This new tool, an extension of existing TeraScan reticle inspection systems, is designed to provide mask manufacturers better sensitivity, lower cost-per-inspection and faster mask dispositioning. In addition, the TeraScanXR is the only reticle inspection tool on the market to supply the complete set of inspection planes: high resolution reticle-plane inspection (RPI) to capture process defects during development and manufacturing; aerial-plane inspection (API) to filter out certain non-printing defects; and wafer-plane inspection (WPI) to predict which reticle defects will print on the wafer.

“Eliminating printable defects in the manufacturing of 32nm-node mask sets requires an inspection tool with multiple capabilities,” commented Brian Haas, vice president and general manager of the Reticle and Photomask Inspection Division at KLA-Tencor. “Mask makers need flexible, high productivity, high sensitivity inspection to capture all defects necessary for process development and control. They also need to know which of these defects will print on a wafer, so they can focus on repairing and verifying only the printable defects–and get their mask sets shipped more rapidly. Only KLA-Tencor sells a reticle inspection system with both high resolution and the ability to assess defect printability. We’re offering this system as a new tool or as an upgrade to our widely installed TeraScan product line, to ensure mask shops can make the most efficient use of their capital.”

The TeraScanXR reticle inspection system features changes to the optics, electronics, algorithms and computer which improve overall sensitivity to meet 32nm requirements. Nuisance detections, such as defects arising from variations on assist structures, can be minimized without sacrificing sensitivity. A substantial throughput improvement makes TeraScanXR up to three times the speed of its predecessor, TeraScanHR, resulting in lower cost-per-inspection and enabling a mask set to be shipped to the fab in a shorter time.

In addition to being the only all-plane inspection platform, TeraScan is the only reticle inspection platform designed to accurately predict defect printability—regardless of pattern density. API, as implemented on TeraScanXR and other inspection tools, reduces certain types of ‘nuisance’ defects, but TeraScan’s WPI is needed to properly determine the printability of defects within dense patterns. Diffraction effects cause these defects to be magnified more than their counterparts in sparsely patterned areas.

Strong interest in the TeraScanXR system has resulted in several orders from the leading merchant and captive mask manufacturers in Asia and the United States. As an upgrade on the industry-standard TeraScan platform, which boasts multiple installations in every major mask shop worldwide, TeraScanXR offers the most cost-effective means to attain 32nm sensitivity for all reticle inspection applications.

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