February 3, 2006 – KLA-Tencor Corp., San Jose, CA, has introduced a new version of its e-beam inspection platform, touted as a “cornerstone” of the company’s efforts to support front-end-of-line and back-end-of-line semiconductor manufacturing at next-generation 65nm-45nm nodes.
Improvements to the eS32, an extension of the company’s eS30 and eS31 systems, include an extended landing energy range to enhance capture of slight under-etch contact defects, and new beam current and scanning flexibility options for highly resistive materials and subtle buried shorts associated with integrating nickel silicide (NiSi) and strained silicon into devices. A smaller pixel also has been added to improve capture of small physical defects in high aspect ratio structures. Advancements and voltage contrast sensitivity help accelerate time-to-root cause analysis and identify and resolve systematic defect mechanisms. The system also supports KLA-Tencor’s MicroLoop yield enhancement methodology.
The company pitched the system’s benefits for both logic and memory manufacturing. E-beam inspection helps logic manufacturers identify and overcome FEOL issues in NiSi and strained-Si integration. For DRAM manufacturers, pressure to ramp new processes into production because of shorter product lifecycles means addressing critical FEOL and interconnect challenges including inspecting higher-aspect ratio vias and capacitors and increasing yield impact of small physical defects.
KLA-Tencor said the eS32 delivers “superior throughput and cost-of-ownership,” although pricing was not disclosed. The company said volume shipments are now underway.