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A filter-life estimator from Donaldson is a Web-based system that enables semiconductor manufacturers using ASML lithography tools to plan filter maintenance schedules based on the contaminant mix in their operations. How long a filter lasts is a function of the contaminant challenge faced by each individual manufacturer. Rather than risk contamination issues that can lead to tool downtime, manufacturers often opt to change out their filters at regular intervals. It is in fabs' interest to know the expected lifetime of their filters so that they can schedule preventive maintenance change-outs. The life estimator allows users to enter the contaminant levels in their fabs and obtain a reasonable filter-life estimate. Information: www.donaldson.com.

A technical flyer from Victrex highlights the company's polyarylether-
ketone (PEEK) material that is employed in CMP processes. Used in the IC industry for applications requiring a broad range of properties, the high-performance semicrystalline polymer material can withstand extreme environments. The flyer outlines the properties that make the polymer suitable for CMP processes, including durability, low defectivity levels, flexible processing capability, easy machining capability, high dimensional stability, high resistance to many CMP chemical environments, and a good cost/performance balance. The flyer also includes test results that compare the wear rate of a PEEK CMP ring with a PPS ring in oxide slurry. Information: www.victrex.com.

A reduced-footprint (RFP) process module from Silicon Services Consortium is available for Novellus C2 modules, including the Altus tungsten CVD and Sequel PECVD systems. The reduced-footprint module is a standard-size Novellus C2 module in which the components have been repackaged into a smaller size. The resized tool's gas box has been redesigned using C-seal surface-mount technology, digital mass-flow controllers, and a state-of-the-art pneumatic control system. Other enhancements include a more-flexible gas box configuration, repositioned components with improved maintenance access, three different facility connection schemes, and heater and pressure control systems that are easier to monitor. The RFP occupies 2 sq ft less floor space than equivalent Novellus Shrink modules. Information: www.rfp1.com.

NeuMath has been awarded a patent in the area of hierarchical yield control for complex systems. The patent supports the Ibex Process Technology IbeXtreme product line, which is scheduled for release in June 2005. The product line uses neural control models to optimize yields on a wafer-by-wafer basis across all semiconductor products and process steps. It utilizes accurate yield and electrical test predictions based on sequential metrology results to optimize end-of-line metrics. Maximum yields are achieved by automatically determining and adjusting critical metrology parameters and targets and by conducting full sensitivity analyses. Information: www.ibexprocess.com.

Trazar has initiated a program to enhance and upgrade Applied Materials' P5000 automated impedance match system, which is used on more than 50,000 radio-frequency (RF)-based process tools. While new P5000s perform unreliably after less than six months in service, the company's own RF match systems have a demonstrated 44-month mean time before failure rating. Applying its underlying technology to enhance the AMAT system, the company offers the refurbished unit—the T5000—with a 12-month warranty. It characterizes the unit, enhances it, and tunes it to ensure that it performs as it did before refurbishment. All enhancements are transparent to the process. The upgrade takes two to three weeks and costs less than the cost of a new P5000. To qualify for the program, the old match system must be in working order. Information: www.trazar.com.


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