Collaboration to Address Inline Elemental Analysis of Defects for the 45nm Node and Beyond

FEI Company, (NASDAQ: FEIC), a leading provider of atomic-scale imaging and analysis systems, and SEMATECH, the global consortium of chipmakers, announced today that FEI Company has joined SEMATECH's Advanced Metrology Development Program at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. The collaboration will expand on current joint efforts for the development of novel technologies to enable improved process control and yield.

As a member of this program, FEI will collaborate with experts in SEMATECH's Metrology divisions to develop high-resolution capabilities of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analysis, with electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) and focused ion beam (FIB) technology to address critical needs in process development and defect analysis. These tools will provide the high resolution imaging and compositional data on the scale of a few nanometers, which is invaluable for defect analysis.

“The Advanced Development Metrology Program is a prime example of SEMATECH's collaborative model in which leading equipment and materials manufacturers can participate in a broader consortium-university-industry partnership to develop cutting-edge metrology and characterization techniques,” said John Warlaumont, SEMATECH vice president of technology. “The collaborative effort among world-class researchers and engineers from FEI, SEMATECH and CNSE, along with access to critical laboratory analytical equipment available within CNSE, form an important cornerstone in providing world-leading advanced metrology capabilities to our members.”

“FEI is proud to supply SEMATECH with our highly advanced wafer-to-TEM data equipment suite, which will help them maximize the volume of high resolution imaging and analytical data output for next generation semiconductor devices,” said Rudy Kellner, vice president & general manager of FEI's Electronics Division. “Utilizing the automated, high-throughput CLM+™ TEM sample preparation solution, combined with FEI's TEMLink lamella lift out system, SEMATECH will be able to produce a steady supply of high quality TEM lamella for its Titan TEM. Equipped with the new MultiLoader double-tilt sample holder, the Titan TEM achieves a level of unprecedented connectivity across system platforms enabling secure, reliable, and traceable sample transfer.”

Analytical TEM has historically been used for basic research in advanced materials development. However, as electronic devices approach the nanometer scale, defects consisting of even a few atoms become critical. The combination of both TEM and EELS is uniquely powerful in that it provides detailed information about physical structure, atomic arrangement, chemical bonding, density, and electronic behavior on a nanometer scale. The result is a much more complete profile of each material than would have been possible with a smaller set of techniques.

“The integration of FEI's TEM with EELS is a leading candidate to replace SEM-based EDX for inline elemental analysis of defects for the 45nm node and below,” said Brad Thiel, CNSE Associate Professor of Nanoscience and Director of SEMATECH's Advanced Metrology Development Program at the UAlbany NanoCollege. “We welcome FEI's membership, and look forward to their participation as we work together to drive the development of processes, materials, and characterization technologies that are critical for continued progress and leadership in nanoscale manufacturing.”

“We are pleased to welcome FEI to the growing roster of industry-leading companies engaged in cutting-edge nanoelectronics research and development at the UAlbany NanoCollege,” said Richard Brilla, vice president for strategy, alliances and consortia at CNSE. “This collaborative relationship with FEI further demonstrates the success of the SEMATECH-CNSE partnership in accelerating nanoscale innovations, supporting pioneering education, and fostering high-tech economic growth, all of which underscore New York's recognition as a global leader in nanotechnology.”

Integration of new materials into semiconductor devices requires advanced analytical characterization techniques such as the high-resolution imaging capabilities afforded by TEM. FIB technology is uniquely suited for preparing ultrathin TEM samples from even the smallest device features.

SEMATECH's Advanced Metrology Development Program at the UAlbany NanoCollege is assessing and developing new characterization technologies that will address current and projected metrology gaps. “Our goal is to develop characterization techniques and methodologies to address a range of issues, including the metrology for films, defects, and 3D structures,” said Thiel.

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