Nonvisual semiconductor defect metrology today, at 22nm, and below

August 9, 2011 – Robert Newcomb from Qcept Technologies explains his company’s nonvisual defect inspection technology for logic and IC manufacturers, speaking at SEMICON West 2011.

In today’s advanced manufacturing nodes, leading-edge wafer fabs are focused on yields and integrating new materials successfully. Customers in mainstream 200mm/300mm semiconductor fabs are more focused on cost reduction and environmental friendliness. Yield is still important, but the aim is a balance of cost savings, high yields, and other factors.

Ultrathin low-k dielectrics, high-k metal gate (HKMG) processes, and other technologies are creating new defectivity issues at 22nm. In some cases, Newcomb says, optical inspection will catch these, but other non-visual defects are becoming more prominent. Below 22nm, partnerships will be key, Newcomb expects. Fab customers are valuable in metrology research, as are wafer processing equipment companies.

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