KLA-Tencor wafer defect/metrology cluster tool monitors all wafer surfaces in parallel

April 23, 2012 — KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ:KLAC) debuted the CIRCL suite high-throughput defect inspection/metrology/review system for implementation at lithography, outgoing quality control (OQC) and other process modules in semiconductor manufacturing lines.

The cluster tool monitors the wafer’s front and back side, and edge for defects. In parallel it measures wafer edge profile, edge bead concentricity, and macro overlay error. Data collection is governed by DirectedSampling, which uses results from one measurement to trigger other types of measurements as needed.

Advanced memory and logic devices require monitoring of increasing numbers of process parameters, said Oreste Donzella, GM of the SWIFT division at KLA-Tencor. By considering all wafer surfaces in parallel, measurements are made more efficiently. Several defect, inspection, metrology and review technologies are implemented in concert.

Also read: KLA-Tencor uncrates metrology line-up for leading-edge semiconductor wafers

The tool detects and bins macro defect types on the front side of the wafer, from particles to defocus defects spanning several die, to full-wafer defects such as missing resist. It catches low percentages of non-critical defects. A reticle ID check verifies that the correct reticle was used for printing. Macro overlay error monitoring checks layer-to-layer pattern registration. Back-side inspection finds particles and scratches, while edge defects are detected and binned. Edge Bead Removal (EBR) metrology monitors film concentricity and edge integrity to prevent possible delamination defects. Edge profile measurements are automated and calibrated to identify excursions that can result in water bead leakage or film delamination during immersion lithography. Automated high-resolution optical defect review and automated classification of front-side, back-side and edge defects, aid in defect source identification.

The CIRCL suite uses a new generation of KLA-Tencor’s LDS front side macro defect inspection module; a new, modular edge inspection, profile and metrology module based on KLA-Tencor’s VisEdge technology; a dedicated wafer back-side inspection module; and a flexible optical defect review and classification module. The modular architecture enables tailoring for a fab’s needs and reduces footprint in the facility. Upgrades are kept at a lower cost.

The modules comprising the CIRCL suite can be matched to like modules in other CIRCL tools, to facilitate flexible routing of work in progress and to promote baseline stability.

CIRCL modules have been shipped to leading foundry, logic and memory chip manufacturers for use in advanced development and production lines.

KLA-Tencor Corporation provides process control and yield management products, including state-of-the-art inspection and metrology technologies for the semiconductor, data storage, LED, photovoltaic, and other related nanoelectronics industries. Additional information may be found at www.kla-tencor.com (KLAC-P).

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