KLA-Tencor uncrates new mask inspection tools

Feb. 15, 2008 – KLA-Tencor has unveiled three new inspection tools for requalifying masks in a wafer fab and inspect for contaminants, capabilities it says will improve yield and lower production risk in 65nm and 45nm chip manufacturing and 32nm development.

In a statement, KLA-Tencor laid out the new Terafab family of mask inspection systems, in a nutshell:

– SLQ-2X: Primarily for logic. Includes new STARlight2+ algorithm and smallest pixels for highest sensitivity. Equally applicable to IQC or mask requalification use cases. Extendible to the sensitivity required for 32nm development.

– Q-3X: A specialized system for multiple-die requalification and incoming quality control (IQC) applications common to memory fabs. Sensitivity to inspect 45nm-generation memory masks for contamination. Offers “highly efficient operation” (read: better CoO).

– SLQ-1X: Touted as a cost-effective direct mask inspection for sampling, or in situations where otherwise would risk noninspection. High-throughput, handles single-die inspection typical of logic fab requalification applications. Includes some of the latest SL2+ algorithm advances, extendible to smaller pixels.

All take advantage of KLA-Tencor’s advanced detection algorithms with its Starlight2 technology, which detects crystal growth and progressive defects on production photomasks for 65nm and 45nm production and 32nm development, including inspection on 72nm pixels. The technology also allows use of a larger pixel at equivalent sensitivity, which can cut inspection time nearly in half for a given application, the company claims.

KLA-Tencor says TeraFab systems are currently undergoing beta testing and evaluation at several leading 45nm-generation logic and memory fabs in Japan, Taiwan, and Europe.


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