May 28, 2008 — /PRNewswire/ — ATLANTA, GA — Qcept Technologies Inc., the developer of a new breed of wafer inspection systems for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, announced that it has entered into a cooperative agreement with CEA-Leti, one of the world’s leading research organizations dedicated to the advancement of micro- and nanotechnology. Qcept and CEA-Leti will investigate potential new techniques for characterizing a variety of leading-edge semiconductor materials and processes, including high-k and low-k dielectrics, atomic layer deposition (ALD), fully silicided (FUSI) metal gates, and advanced cleaning technologies.
Under the terms of the agreement, CEA-Leti is providing its extensive know-how in advanced semiconductor process development to the partnership. Qcept, in turn, has installed its ChemetriQ(R) non-visual defect (NVD) wafer inspection technology in CEA-Leti’s development facility in Grenoble, France, where it is augmenting the organization’s existing process characterization capabilities.
“Advanced materials and processes, such as high-k dielectrics and metal gates, have the potential to significantly enhance the performance of future generations of semiconductor devices. However, their complexity can give rise to new and unique yield problems, which require innovative inspection methods,” states Adrien Danel, lead research engineer at CEA-Leti. “This partnership with Qcept can help us to better understand the yield issues surrounding these materials and processes in order to speed their development and integration into full-scale manufacturing.”
“Leti is at the forefront of many critical areas of semiconductor research and development,” states Ralph Spicer, vice president of marketing for Qcept. “Working with CEA-Leti will provide us with a unique opportunity to have early access to these advanced technologies — allowing us to qualify our ChemetriQ solution for some of the industry’s most cutting-edge applications.”
Qcept’s ChemetriQ platform provides rapid, full-wafer, inline detection of NVDs, such as organic and inorganic residue, metallic contaminants, process-induced charging, watermarks, and other non-visual residue defects that are undetectable by optical inspection systems. ChemetriQ accomplishes this by employing an innovative, non-destructive technology that detects work function variations on the surface of semiconductor wafers. The ChemetriQ platform is sensitive to 5E9 atoms/cm2 (one atom out of 200,000 per square centimeter), which exceeds the requirements outlined in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) for metallic contamination detection down to the 22-nm node.
The CEA (French Atomic Energy Commission), a public organization for technological research, carries out its missions in the domains of energy, information and health technologies, and defense, building on the foundations of fundamental research at the highest level. Strengthened by the competence of its 15,000 researchers and collaborators, it is recognized internationally and constitutes a strong source of original ideas for public authorities, institutions and industries in France and throughout Europe.
Located in Grenoble, France, CEA-Leti (Electronics and Information Technology Laboratory of the French Atomic Energy Commission) is at the leading edge of European research in microelectronics, microtechnology and nanotechnology. It employs close to 1,000 people and deposits approximately 200 patents per year. With 28 start-ups created or in the course of creation, it is one of the most important partners of the industrial world. Instigator of the MINATEC(R) pole of innovation, CEA-Leti is also one of its principal partners, alongside of the INP Grenoble (Grenoble Institute of Technology) and local authorities.
About Qcept Technologies Inc.
Qcept delivers wafer inspection solutions for non-visual defect (NVD) detection in advanced semiconductor manufacturing. Qcept’s ChemetriQ(R) platform is being adopted in critical processes for inline, non-contact, full-wafer detection of such NVDs as sub-monolayer organic and metallic residues, process-induced charging, and other undesired surface non-uniformities that cannot be detected by conventional optical inspection equipment.
Source: Qcept Technologies Inc.