Nanometrics Launch Optical Critical Dimension Metrology System for Semiconductors

Nanometrics Incorporated (NASDAQ: NANO), a leading supplier of advanced metrology systems, today introduced the Atlas II optical critical dimension (OCD) system, a next-generation tool for high-performance process control metrology.

Incorporating innovations in optical components, precision wafer positioning, and new software analysis, the Atlas II enables measurements of the smallest semiconductor design features in development, including complex device structures at 1x nm technology nodes.

New optical components provide metrology users with unprecedented stability in focus performance, allowing precise and repeatable measurements of critical device features. The technology innovations broaden the system's application to a range of structures, including asymmetric spacers and 3-D gratings such as those used in double patterning lithography. The Atlas II is also capable of on-device measurement, which eliminates the need for scribe-line marks and complicated correlations and enables direct and reliable process control of device manufacturing.

A doubling of wafer throughput, along with an order of magnitude improvement in wafer positioning precision, enables significant increases in data volume required to control next-generation semiconductor processes, and lowers the system's cost of ownership. Atlas II systems are installed with Nanometrics' new NanoCD Suite, to enable analysis of the most critical and complex process steps in advanced technology nodes, supporting combined film thickness and OCD metrology.

The Atlas II is compatible with Nanometrics' Lynx cluster metrology platform, which allows customers to combine other complementary metrology modules with the thin film and OCD system.

"This is a significant milestone for Nanometrics. With the introduction of Atlas II, our OCD metrology platform takes a large step forward to enable essential features of our customers' next-generation devices," said David Doyle, vice president of Nanometrics' Semiconductor Business Unit. "These advancements are important to both performance and improved device yields, especially for 3-D device architectures, including FinFET, where data richness and sensitivity to critical parameters is paramount."

Nanometrics has installed the first Atlas II at a major semiconductor manufacturer and anticipates fan out of the product to high volume manufacturing in early 2012.

"OCD technology has demonstrated its ability to be a disruptive force in process control metrology," said Dr. Timothy J. Stultz, president and chief executive officer. "Our customers are already validating benefits the Atlas II offers them in throughput and performance. These benefits translate directly into faster ramps to yield and lower manufacturing costs."

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