July 6, 2009 – KLA-Tencor announced XP, a new upgrade package for its 28XX broadband brightfield inspection systems, to enable access to standard IC design layout files. With access to this information, the inspection system can use knowledge of the defect’s location within the circuit to better estimate its probability of affecting device yield.
The new package can also use the results of design-aware wafer inspection to identify features on the mask that may be particularly sensitive to process variations during printing. According to the company, these and other features of the XP upgrade package are designed to improve the sensitivity and productivity of existing 28XX inspectors and raise the information content of defect results, helping to accelerate identification and resolution of defect issues.
Several features of the new product improve inspection results or inspector productivity: preferential capture of yield-relevant defects — during inspection — based on the density of the circuit pattern at the defect site; optimization of defect capture throughout all areas of interest within the die, by using circuit design information to set highly localized defect detection thresholds according to pattern group; and early detection of marginal lithography conditions, enabled by close monitoring of pattern types having the smallest process margins.
Additionally, there is an offline generation of derivative “recipes” — the optical, mechanical, and algorithm parameters settings that govern the inspection — for new layers or new devices. This feature, one of several recipe acceleration features, can reduce time and labor required for recipe setup, thereby increasing inspector productivity and making recipe optimization feasible even for small lots or rapid prototyping of devices.
The XP package has been has already been shipped to multiple foundry, memory and logic fabs.