Rudolph Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of process characterization equipment and software for thin film measurement and macro defect inspection, and SEMATECH, the global consortium of leading chipmakers, announced today that Rudolph has become the first semiconductor equipment supplier company to join SEMATECH's Metrology Program headquartered at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany.
Under the membership agreement, Rudolph and SEMATECH will jointly establish an International Process Characterization (IPC) program, aimed at the development of process, analysis, and characterization technology to address critical challenges in nanoelectronics research. The IPC program, which will be a foundational component of SEMATECH's expanding metrology programs at CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex, brings together expert researchers and technologists, along with critical tools and software, as part of the consortium's broader industry-university-government partnership with New York State and CNSE.
As the first associate member, Rudolph will team with SEMATECH's members and the members of ISMI (International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative) to accelerate the development and application of measurement methods for advanced semiconductor technologies. Rudolph's membership is the latest example of SEMATECH's new collaborative model, in which leading equipment and materials manufacturers can participate in focused, cooperative R&D with SEMATECH's members.
The IPC program will focus on integrated metrology, inspection and yield enhancement software solutions to address critical process characterization challenges identified in the ITRS roadmap for semiconductor manufacturing at the 32 nm technology generation and beyond. The program will significantly benefit from the interactions among world-class researchers and engineers from Rudolph, SEMATECH and ISMI, and CNSE.
"We are very excited to join SEMATECH in this groundbreaking research at the UAlbany NanoCollege," said Alex Oscilowski, Chief Operating Officer at Rudolph. "This is a truly unique opportunity for collaboration, with some of the best minds in the industry using a cutting-edge technology platform in the world's most advanced research complex."
Oscilowski outlined the difficult challenges faced by semiconductor manufacturers, including exponential growth in process complexity, decreasing size of systematic and extraneous defects, and increasing difficulty in discerning actionable information within the torrent of raw data. "The integration of advanced hardware and intelligent analytical software will be the key to meeting these challenges," he stated, "and we're looking forward to contributing our experience, front-end to back-end throughout the manufacturing process, and our broad expertise in metrology, inspection and data analysis technologies, to this important joint effort."
SEMATECH President and CEO Dr. Michael Polcari said, "We're delighted to welcome Rudolph as a member and partner, and we're excited about the IPC program at CNSE's world-class Albany NanoTech Complex. It will give our researchers access to advanced, integrated hardware and software platforms that will enable them to drive the development of process, materials, analysis and characterization technologies that are critical for continued progress and leadership in nanoscale manufacturing. And ultimately, we believe the IPC program can serve as both a foundation and a model for expanded programs in this critical area of metrology and process characterization."
Dr. Alain E. Kaloyeros, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of CNSE, said, "We are pleased to welcome Rudolph Technologies to the UAlbany NanoCollege, where the company's participation in SEMATECH's newest research program will address challenges that are critical to nanoscale manufacturing. The attraction of yet another leading global nanoelectronics company once again demonstrates that the pioneering vision of Governor Spitzer, Speaker Silver and Senate Majority Leader Bruno-including their unwavering support in bringing International SEMATECH to CNSE's Albany NanoTech-is paying dividends in luring new high-tech jobs and investment that underscore the State's growing recognition as a worldwide leader in nanotechnology education, research and commercialization."
The initial IPC program addresses a range of issues, including the metrology of thin films and metal gate stacks; wafer front, back, and edge macro defect inspection; inspection and metrology for through silicon vias (TSV) and three-dimensional integrated circuits (3DIC); immersion lithography process characterization; process modeling and optimization for yield enhancement; and automatic defect classification (ADC). In addition to these technology goals, the program seeks to establish benchmarks for cost-effective solutions by including cost-of-ownership criteria in all projects.