Diagnostics, characterization: the FEI story

June 26, 2001 – Hillsboro, OR – With a company focus on structural diagnostics and structural modification with the utilization of ion beam technology, FEI has an eye on the future.

The company has devised a method of looking at a cross section of a wafer searching for defects using DualBeam focus ion beam technology. While traditional methods allow only a top – down approach, which indicates the problem, not the source, FEI, according to Jay Lindquist senior VP and GM of the microelectronics product group, can look below the surface to analyze even defects that are buried between layers, or, he added, to find “scum down in the bottom.”

FEI is also focused on structural modification. According to Lindquist, the company has found a way, using a focused ion beam, to repair clear and opaque defects by adding or removing items. “Since masks are expensive they have to be repaired,” said Lindquist, “you can’t just buy a new one.”

Lindquist commented that FEI can modify a mask to make it look and work correctly. This process, he added, usually takes just hours, rather than days or weeks to make a new mask.

Lindquist commented that with the emergence of 300mm, a company can no longer say, “well, I have to scrap this now because it was processed improperly.” He said that FEI has the ability to gather a new kind of information where you can look below the surface. By using a focused ion beam, he said, you can cut features and look at them in cross section form with the same precision.

With both 300mm and smaller features sizes driving it, FEI’s process control sector is growing faster than the semiconductor market, said Tang. “Features are getting smaller,” commented Lindquist, “that’s what our business is all about.”

“There isn’t another company like FEI in this market, with ion beam technology and electron beam technology,” said Tang. “They are dominating the market, and they are going to grow this year as well.”

While names of customers are proprietary, Lindquist said, “Our equipment is with all the big boys out there.” He said because of DualBeam technology, market and cost savings without breaking wafers and the ability to allow wafers to continue processing, FEI offers value. –Rachel Robinson, associate editor, WaferNews


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