Taiwan DRAM Manufacturer Orders All-Surface Inspection System for Front-End Manufacturing Process Control

Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC), a worldwide leader in the design, development, manufacture and support of high-performance process control metrology, defect inspection and data analysis systems used by semiconductor device manufacturers, announced today the sale of its Explorer® Inspection Cluster to a major memory manufacturer in Taiwan. The Explorer is a new multi-surface inspection system designed to deliver fast, accurate and reliable macro defect inspection at a low cost of ownership.

“The order for this new product is an encouraging example of technology buys that we are beginning to see in the industry,” said Ardy Johnson, vice president of marketing at Rudolph. “While it is too early to forecast a measurable market recovery, we are excited to report orders like this one that are from market segments that have previously been at a standstill.”

The Taiwan DRAM manufacturer has ordered the Explorer ‘total solution package’ that includes the AXi940™ front side inspection module, B30™ backside inspection module, E30™ edge inspection module, the Discover® software package for inline defect analysis and data management, and TrueADC™ software for inline automatic defect classification. Rudolph’s total solution not only can improve yields by performing high-speed automated inspection on the frontside of the wafer, but also is able to quickly identify edge and/or backside defects, such as cracks, chip-outs, delamination, residuals, particles and flaking.

Scott Balak, Rudolph’s all-surface inspection product manager adds, “Edge bevel inspection, in particular, is becoming more important as we move through 45nm and beyond, and especially as immersion lithography has been introduced into advanced manufacturing processes. Defects originating in non-exposure areas, including streets, partial devices and the edge of the wafer, all have the potential to create problems within the immersion environment. Edge-related processes, such as edge bead removal, need to be monitored closely to control performance and defectivity.”

The Explorer Inspection Cluster is a modular approach to wafer inspection consisting of one or more inspection modules for front, back and edge inspection. Sophisticated queue management and the option of up to four load ports helps to ensure maximum throughput and efficiency. The improved sensitivity of the edge and backside modules permits the detection of defects down to one micron on patterned wafers. Discover is an inline defect analysis and data management system designed to seamlessly handle advanced macro frontside, edge and backside inspection results. When the E30 and B30 modules are paired with the frontside module, correlation of defect data from all surfaces provides faster more efficient response to defectivity issues.

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