KLA-Tencor expands IC packaging portfolio

Today KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ : KLAC ) announced two new defect inspection products designed to address a wide variety of integrated circuit (IC) packaging challenges. The Kronos™ 1080 system offers production-worthy, high sensitivity wafer inspection for advanced packaging, providing key information for process control and material disposition. The ICOS F160 system examines packages after wafers have been diced, delivering fast, accurate die sort based on detection of key defect types—including sidewall cracks, a new defect type affecting the yield of high-end packages. The two new inspection systems join KLA-Tencor’s portfolio of defect inspection, metrology and data analysis systems that help accelerate packaging yield and increase die sort accuracy.

KLA-Tencor’s new Kronos™ 1080 wafer inspection system and ICOS™ F160 die sorting and inspection system are designed to address a wide variety of IC packaging challenges.

“As chip scaling has slowed, advances in chip packaging technology have become instrumental in driving device performance,” said Oreste Donzella, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at KLA-Tencor. “Packaged chips need to achieve simultaneous targets for device performance, power consumption, form factor and cost for a variety of device applications. As a result, packaging design has become more diverse and complex, featuring a range of 2D and 3D structures that are more densely packed and shrinking in size with every generation. At the same time, the value of the packaged chip has grown substantially, along with electronics manufacturers’ expectations for quality and reliability. To meet these expectations, packaging manufacturers, whether in the back end of a chip manufacturing fab or in an outsourced assembly and test (OSAT) facility, have demanded more sensitive, cost-effective inspection, metrology and data analysis—and more accurate identification of bad parts. Our engineering teams have developed the new Kronos 1080 and ICOS F160 systems to serve the electronics industry’s growing needs for production-worthy defect detection for a wide variety of packaging types.”

The Kronos 1080 system is designed to inspect advanced wafer-level packaging process steps, providing information on the full range of defect types for inline process control. Advanced packaging technology necessarily includes ever-smaller features, higher-density metal patterns, and multi-layer redistribution layers—all of which have increasing inspection requirements that demand innovative solutions. The Kronos system achieves its industry-leading performance through multi-mode optics and sensors and advanced defect detection algorithms. The Kronos system also introduces FlexPoint™, an advanced technology derived from KLA-Tencor’s leading inspection solutions for IC chip manufacturing. FlexPoint focuses the inspection system on key areas within the die where defects would have highest impact. Flexible wafer handling enables the inspection of high-warp wafers, frequently encountered in a package type called fan-out wafer-level packaging—an established type for mobile applications and an emerging technology for networking and high-performance computing.

After wafer-level packages are tested and diced, the ICOS F160 performs inspection and die sorting. Manufacturers of high-end packages, such as those used for mobile applications, will benefit from new capability to detect laser-groove, hairline and sidewall cracks. These cracks result from a change in the materials used to insulate the dense on-chip metal routing to facilitate increased speed and reduced power consumption. The new material is brittle, making it susceptible to cracks during wafer dicing. Sidewall cracks are notoriously difficult to detect, as they lie perpendicular to the top of the die and are not detectable using traditional visual inspection. Another major advantage of the ICOS F160 system, beneficial to many packaging types, is its flexibility: input and output modes can be wafer, tray or tape. The system is easily changed from one configuration to another. Its automatic calibrations and precision die pickup facilitate increased tool utilization in high volume manufacturing environments.

The Kronos 1080 and ICOS F160 systems are part of KLA-Tencor’s portfolio of packaging solutions designed to address inspection, metrology, data analysis and die sorting needs for a variety of IC packaging types.


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