Park’s new AFMs enable nanoscale testing for semiconductor manufacturing

July 15, 2008 — Park Systems (Santa Clara, CA) says its new line of fully automated Atomic Force Microscopes (AFMs) is designed to help increase production yields by providing the critical angle measurements required by storage and semiconductor manufacturers. The series, which includes the XE-3DM, XE-3DM and XE-Wafer, is being demonstrated this week at Semicon West in San Francisco, CA.

The XE-3DM provides automatic data acquisitionand analysis of trench and overhang profiles, sidewall roughness and imaging, and critical angle measurements. Its unique non-orthogonal “tilted” Z scanner and its ability to use sharp tips enable detailed characterization of undercut features as well as top surfaces. This, says Park Systems, produces metrological data not available using AFMs with coupled XY and Z scanners and specialized probes (for example, flared tips). And unlike electron microscopes, the XE-3DM provides non-destructive imaging of soft photoresist structures. The XE-3DM features automatic probe tip exchange, can accommodate both 200 mm and 300 mm wafers, and can be equipped with a front end module.

The XE-WAFER is a fully automated industrial tool designed specifically for in-line wafer inspection and metrology in semiconductor and hard disk drive fabrication facilities. It provides automatic data acquisition and analysis of surface roughness, trench width, depth and angles. The system is housed in an acoustic enclosure with a built-in anti vibration isolation system. It accommodates both 200 mm and 300 mm wafers and produces 100×100 ¼m scans, with 200×200 ¼m scans optional. The XE-WAFER, features superior accuracy and precision metrology, including high resolution and low gauge sigma value, to ensure repeatability and reproducibility.

The XE-CMP is a fully automated industrial in-line AFM providing high-aspect-ratio trench and Chemical Mechanical Polishing (CMP) metrology for wafers up to 300 mm. Designed specifically for semiconductor fabs, the XE-CMP provides automatic data acquisition and analysis of atomic force profilometry measurements for surface roughness, trench dimensions, sidewall slope, line width and microplanarity. Park System’s XE-CMP features a higher resolution than competitive AFMs, and a long-range sliding stage with linear translation and minimal vertical deviation. Like the XE-WAFER it promises an extremely low gage sigma value for repeatability and reproducibility.

“Until now the data storage and semiconductor industries have had a very limited choice of industrial-grade in-line inspection tools,” said Park Systems General Manager Dr. Sung Park. “For example, there have been no systems capable of measuring sidewall texture without destroying the sample. Our new XE family of industrial AFMs will help manufacturers increase production yields by providing reliable and repeatable metrology data.”

Late last fall, Park Systems introduced its XE-NSOM/Raman AFM, which promises “unsurpassed versatility” for advanced near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) and Raman spectrometry experiments. And, Dr. Sung Park explained his company’s technology in a webcast (now available on demand) titled The Impact of Imaging Advancements.


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