Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd. (NASDAQ: NVMI) provider of leading edge stand-alone metrology and the market leader of integrated metrology solutions to the semiconductor process control market, received a multiple tool order for its integrated NovaScan metrology solution for measurement of Copper line thickness by a leading foundry. The integrated systems will complement the already deployed standalone NovaScan systems as part of that foundry's Copper CMP process control scheme. The correlation of Copper line thickness measurements by NovaScan metrology to electrical tests provides critical information at an early stage of the device manufacturing process. The combination of integrated and standalone metrology provides the manufacturing fab the flexibility to visualize the Copper process on a wafer-to-wafer high sampling basis or on lower sampling basis depending on specific process characteristics.
The resistivity of metal interconnect lines directly affects the performance and power consumption of the device. As semiconductor devices shrink, lower resistivity Copper replaces the higher resistivity Aluminum as the interconnect metal. As Copper process control is more challenging than Aluminum, there is a need for metrology to measure accurately the profile of the Copper line that ultimately determines the line's resistivity. Scatterometry has a unique capability to provide fast, accurate non contact measurements of Copper line thickness and to detect Copper residues that can degrade device performance and lower yield.
"As our customers continue to develop their advanced processes we are committed to continue cooperating with them to provide the metrology solutions they need", said Noam Shintel, Corporate Marketing Director for Nova. "For technology nodes of 45nm and below we see a move from Copper process monitoring on solid measurement pads to a comprehensive control scheme where the Copper line trench is measured after Etch and the Copper line thickness is measured on 2D and 3D test targets after CMP. The deployment of NovaScan is indicative that our adaptive solution of fully matched high throughput standalone and integrated metrology coupled with NovaMARS 3D modeling software enables control of Copper processes in advanced technology nodes. With Advanced Process Control (APC) and Nova's metrology solutions, semiconductor manufacturers are able to significantly reduce their process development cycle, increase the device performance and overall yield."