KLA-Tencor Announces Two New Wafer Defect Inspection and Review Portfolio for the 3Xnm and 2Xnm Nodes

KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ:KLAC), the world's leading supplier of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor and related industries, announced two new wafer inspection systems and a new electron-beam review system to address defect issues at the 3Xnm / 2Xnm nodes.

KLA-Tencor's portfolio of defect wafer inspection and review systems for the 3Xnm and 2Xnm nodes includes the 2830 Series, the Puma 9500 Series, and the eDR-5210 (from left to right). (Photo: Business Wire)

The 2830 Series brightfield wafer inspection platform uses a revolutionary high-power plasma light source to illuminate defect types whose size or location made them impossible to detect repeatably before now. The Puma 9500 Series darkfield wafer inspection platform introduces breakthrough optics and image acquisition technology that give it twice the resolution at twice the speed of its predecessor-allowing the new Puma tools to monitor more layers and more defect types at darkfield speeds. The eDR-5210 e-beam review and classification system features second-generation electromagnetic-field immersion technology, engineered to deliver extraordinary image quality and actionable defect classification results in a high productivity package. Each new tool offers substantial benefits over existing technology on its own. In addition, when the new inspection and review systems work interdependently, they can preferentially detect and report yield-relevant defects, enabling fabs to more rapidly identify and remedy complex defect issues at the 3Xnm and 2Xnm nodes.

“While many other equipment companies have been focused on scaling back programs and delaying new platforms during the downturn, KLA-Tencor has continued to invest heavily in developing next-generation products, including two innovative wafer defect inspection systems and an exceptional review tool for the 3Xnm and 2Xnm nodes,” remarked Mike Kirk, Ph.D., vice president and general manager of the Wafer Inspection Group at KLA-Tencor. “Our customers are introducing complex lithography techniques, new materials and exotic structures. They are coping with additional layers and smaller process windows, and are keenly focused on value. To address these issues, our engineering teams collaborated with suppliers and customers to develop truly innovative technology for the 2830, Puma 9500 and eDR-5210 systems, giving them unprecedented capability. Each of the tools combines substantial advances in performance and throughput. Each has the flexibility for use in multiple applications—which adds considerable value in today’s economic environment. Each is designed for extendibility to or from the next device generation, so that fabs can maximize re-use of their investment in capital equipment. We’re confident that together the new inspection and review portfolio represents a big step forward for the industry in overall defect-management ROI: faster detection of excursions, faster resolution of difficult defect issues, and faster time to market for our customers’ next-generation chips.”

The 2830 Series and Puma 9550 Series wafer defect inspection systems and the eDR-5210 e-beam defect review and classification system are backed by KLA-Tencor’s comprehensive service network to maintain their high performance and productivity. For more details on the individual products, please refer to the attached Technology Summaries.

Technology Summary: 2830 Series broadband brightfield defect inspection systems

At the 3Xnm/2Xnm design rule, technical issues in the defectivity realm are many and varied, beginning with the fact that yield-critical defects are generally smaller and more difficult to capture than at larger dimensions. These defects are also harder to distinguish from natural variations such as line-edge roughness or color variation—part of the sea of ‘nuisance’ defects that impede root-cause analysis. Systematic defects on the wafer—those that print repeatedly in the same location or within the same pattern type on the wafer—are growing in prevalence as design rules shrink, with severe impact on yield. New patterning techniques and structures at the 3Xnm/2Xnm nodes require fabs to inspect new materials and additional layers.

The new 2830 Series brightfield inspection platform introduces PowerBroadbandTM, a unique high-brightness light source designed to enable more repeatable capture of difficult defects, faster operation, and better discrimination between defects of interest and nuisance defects. Also equipped with a new image acquisition system featuring twice the data rate of its 2810 Series predecessor, the 2830 Series offers its markedly increased capability at production speeds.

Technology Summary: Puma 9500 Series darkfield defect inspection systems

Even at the leading edge, not every device layer is best served by brightfield defect inspection. Laser-imaging darkfield inspection can operate at markedly higher throughput, with sufficient defect capture rate for many applications—typically films, etch and CMP. Operation at higher throughput allows more frequent sampling of the process, so that defect excursions can be identified and remedied before additional wafers are lost. Because time to market and yield are critical to our customers’ profitability, strategic use of a mix of brightfield and darkfield inspection systems throughout the fab is necessary to achieve the best return on the fab’s investment in inspection equipment.

The Puma 9500 Series darkfield inspection platform introduces breakthrough enabling technology: exclusive high-NA* collection optics combined with a higher-power laser, enabling apertures, a new image acquisition system and innovative algorithms that together allow darkfield inspection to provide an increase in sensitivity-at-throughput of greater than 30%, compared to our previous-generation tool. This major advancement is designed to enable our customers to move to higher-sensitivity operation to support a critical-dimension shrink without a loss of productivity. Alternatively Puma 9500 can apply its added sensitivity-at-throughput to inspect new layers and capture smaller defects, with a speed advantage that helps fabs bring their leading-edge devices to yield more rapidly.

Technology Summary: eDR-5210 e-beam defect review and classification system

The eDR-5210 e-beam defect review and classification system features several technology and architecture improvements that are designed to benefit the tool’s resolution, re-detection rate, classification accuracy and productivity. Additional advances in the connectivity of the review tool to KLA-Tencor inspection systems boost the yield-relevance of the defect data results and increase the overall productivity of the inspection-review solution.

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