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Product Technology News

X-Ray Inspection Tool

Bede Scientific Instruments

Durham, UK

The BedeScan digital x-ray inspection tool identifies and quantifies structural defects in semiconductor wafer substrates and epilayers. The high-speed mapping tool uses nondestructive x-ray diffraction to identify a wide range of anomalies in both incoming and processed wafers up to 300 mm in diameter, including thermal slip dislocations, edge damage, and other crystallographic defects. By identifying and quantifying defective material early in the processing stage, the tool helps increase yields. It is used in high-volume manufacturing applications, delivering quantitative data that enable in-line statistical control of manufacturing processes. The tool images wafers in both reflection and transmission modes, providing information about crystallographic defects in the surface and bulk regions of the wafer. Digital image processing permits efficient measurement routines of selected regions, avoiding unnecessary measurement of areas that are normally good. User-friendly software enables operators to customize the tool’s speed, resolution, and scanning range.

Dry Ice Cleaning System

Cold Jet

Loveland, OH

A cleaning system that projects dry ice particles shaved from blocks to clean small, deep, or complex cavities and crevices, the i3MicroClean system cleans small, delicate surfaces faster than traditional methods and does not cause abrasion or disassembly. The cost-effective, quiet system consumes low volumes of air and ice. Ergonomic and easy to handle, it uses recycled CO2, which reduces or eliminates the use of hazardous chemicals. Because the dry ice particles disappear on impact, the unit eliminates secondary waste streams. It is used for cleaning wafers, stripping high-dose implanted photoresists, cleaning polymer films off anodized or spray-coated aluminum chambers, cleaning valve bellows and quartzware, and removing polymers from laminated oxide-etch parts.

Turbo Pump

Pfeiffer Vacuum

Nashua, NH

A turbo pump that goes from atmosphere to high vacuum, the OnTool booster pump is used in clean applications that operate without particulate matter, corrosive gases, or condensation. Used in loadlocks in IC manufacturing equipment, the turbo pump eliminates the need for a backing pump because of its high pumping speed of 130 m3/hr and its ultimate pressure of <1 × 10-5 mbar. The compact pump, which can be mounted directly to a process tool, has a low vibration level, preventing wafers or critical parts from moving.

CD/Profile Mask Metrology

Timbre Technologies

Fremont, CA

TeraGen-M 2.7, an optical digital profilometry mask (ODP-M) metrology system, performs accurate and nondestructive profile measurements of advanced photomasks. Based on optical scatterometry, ODP technology translates broadband light diffracted off of critical mask features into accurate profile information. In addition to measuring critical dimension (CD), the system provides information on vertical dimensions, such as etch depth in phase-shift masks, in a single measurement. Unlike CD-SEM or X-SEM technology, ODP is fast, works in an ambient environment, and does not require sample preparation or mask cleaving. TeraGen-M performs 2-D and 3-D metrology functions for mask applications, measuring both lines/spaces and contacts. In addition to binary chrome-on-glass masks, the system measures advanced phase-shift masks, including alternating attenuated phase-shift masks, embedded phase-shift masks, and chromeless masks. It provides CD and etch-depth information from phase-shift and chromeless masks in less than three seconds per site. (Semicon Japan, Booth 2B-1101)

UHP Liquid-Flow Sensor


Georgetown, TX

U700-series ultra-high-purity (UHP) liquid-flow sensors measure flow rates of virtually any fluid as low as 15 ml/min or as high as 50 L/min. The sensors achieve repeatable results by using a patented microturbine flow sensor design, which allows accurate flow measurements with no zero drift or particle generation. PTFE, Kal-Rez, and sapphire wetted surfaces ensure the sensors’ compatibility with CMP slurries, acids, solvents, DI water, photodeveloper solutions, and most other high-purity fluids. Their microturbine design is integrated with advanced electronics to provide an analog voltage or current signal that is proportional to flow rate. The units have a life expectancy of more than 50,000 hours.

Acid-Laden-Air Exhaust Duct


Boise, ID


Oakdale, MN

A Factory Mutual–approved duct system for use in acid-laden-air exhaust systems incorporates a Dyneon ETFE fluoropolymer–based coating formulation. The duct can withstand the harsh high temperatures and corrosive environments in IC processing ductwork. Additional applications for the coating include tanks, spin bowls, chemical enclosures, trays, and other applications in which metal substrates must be protected from the corrosive chemicals used in the semiconductor industry. The Dyneon coating formulation combines a primer and a modified ETFE topcoat/coating. COR*Guard uses the primer and coating coupled with a technology that reduces substrate preparation time.

Wet-Processing-Solution Analyzer

ECI Technology

Totowa, NJ

A wet-processing-solution analyzer monitors concentrations of single- and multicomponent chemistries in real time. QualiSurf, which supports automated wet stations and single-wafer tools, is used to analyze dilute cleaning chemistries at the sub-90-nm level. A noninvasive optical detection system and proprietary algorithms enable users to maintain concentrations and component ratios precisely. No chemicals come into direct contact with monitoring hardware, ensuring the analyzer’s reliability. The unit comes with multiple channels and monitors up to eight chemistries. Applications include SC-1, SC-2, ammonium fluoride–buffered hydrogen fluoride, dilute hydrofluoric acid, sulfuric acid/hydrogen peroxide, back-end-of-line organic/semiaqueous/aqueous chemistries, and novel chemical mixtures.

Tee Valve

George Fischer

Tustin, CA

A tee-valve assembly reduces installation time and labor expenses while minimizing potential accidents and system shutdowns. The valve is a fully assembled package that includes a Type 546 ball valve connected to a tee using a high-strength reducer bushing and
a plug assembled on the valve. The reducer bushing allows the valve to fit tightly against the tee for a strong connection and also results in a short overall length, providing additional strength. A safety plug prevents potential leakage if users accidentally leave the valve open when the system is started up. The valve can be deployed in the water cooling and vacuum systems that are used in the semiconductor industry. Available in PVC and CPVC body materials with EPDM valve seals, it comes in sizes up to 8 × 2 in. and is rated at 232 psi. (Semicon Japan, Booth 8A-311)

Pressure-Insensitive MFCs

Advanced Energy Industries

Fort Collins, CO

Aera PI-980 pressure-insensitive mass-flow controllers (MFCs) deliver faster response, greater gas-flow stability, higher accuracy, and better real-time process control than previous technologies or related products. The MFCs are well suited for etch, chemical vapor deposition, physical vapor deposition, and diffusion applications. Their high-flow gas stability provides high chamber-to-chamber process repeatability, and their advanced design integrates traditional thermal flow technology with a pressure sensor, temperature sensor, and patented NeuralStep control algorithms, eliminating the need for costly gas-panel components. Integrated diagnostics increase system uptime and simplify troubleshooting. (Semicon Japan, Booth 4A-606)

Dielectric Materials


Mountain View, CA

Two dielectric materials are used in front-end-of-line (FEOL) and back-end-of-line (BEOL) processes. ST 100 is an inorganic spin-on oxide for applications such as shallow-trench isolation and premetal dielectric. An enabler for memory and logic processes that require the narrow gap-fill of a spin-on material and the robustness of an oxide, it provides void-free fill of narrow gaps with aspect ratios up to 13:1. In addition, it exhibits excellent wet-etch resistance and maintains its integrity in process temperatures above 1000°C. SX 800 is an advanced organosiloxane dielectric used in BEOL and FEOL applications. With excellent thermomechanical properties, it has a Young’s modulus of 10.5 GPa, a cracking threshold of 2 µm, and thermal stability greater than 600°C. Its dielectric constant of 2.9, low leakage, and high breakdown voltage make it suitable for subtractive aluminum BEOL applications.

Optical Inspection System

Olympus Integrated Technologies America

San Jose, CA

The AL-series optical inspection and defect review system performs wafer edge and bevel inspection. Full bevel inspection enables users to see the top, side, and bottom of the wafer from various angles using continuous angle adjustment. That capability maximizes fabs’ ability to detect particles, pits, and residues, which lead to hot spots on the wafer frontside; chips, cracks, and scratches, which cause wafer breakage; and edge-bead removal issues, which harm wafers and can result in tool and wafer cross-contamination. The instrument performs macro and micro inspection, automated image capture, operator or automated defect review, and automated defect classification. Macro inspection enables users to scan the front and the back center and edge of the wafer in a single pass, while micro inspection allows them to view the wafer using bright-field, dark-field, Nomarski DIC, confocal, high-resolution deep ultraviolet (DUV), and DUV confocal techniques. The system includes a variety of visible-light imaging modes and can also integrate patented 248-nm DUV Air Gap optics to increase the optical resolution limit to 80 nm. (Semicon Japan, Booth 4B-1001)

Charged-Plate Monitor


Medina, NY

The Model 157 charged-plate monitor is used for ionizer monitoring and testing and in other applications in which static charge must be controlled by frequent and accurate measurements. Software enhancements enable the storage and retrieval of data and provide an additional data-acquisition mode, meeting the rigorous data management demands of the semiconductor, disk-drive, and other electrostatic discharge (ESD)–sensitive environments. The unit’s storage and retrieval capability enables test data—including actual data points, graphical waveforms of the data, and operator comments about test conditions or other parameters—to be saved and recalled. The monitor is used to test room ionization systems, ac and dc blowers, nuclear ionizers, gun-type ionizers, and pulsed dc ionizers. Its charge-measurement design uses an ultra-high-impedance, high-voltage follower to monitor the voltage of the ion collecting plate. The system also allows virtually infinite impedance loading of the ion collecting plate, while making measurement capacitance independent of the physical size and shape of the plate. (Semicon Japan, Booth 5B-907)

HFIP-NB Photoresist Coatings

Halocarbon Products

River Edge, NJ

Hexafluoroisopropanol-norbornene (HFIP-NB) monomers are being used in conjunction with another resin (typically an acrylic) to form photoresist coatings. The light-curable coatings are essential in the fabrication of semiconductor features. The fluorine in HFIB-NB enables fabs to cure the coating at shorter wavelengths of light, such as 157 and 193 nm, enabling the manufacture of finer features. The key raw material in HFIP-NB monomers is hexafluoroacetone (HFA), a highly toxic compound. A basic ingredient of HFA is halocarbon, enabling the company to produce a very pure grade of HFA. (Semicon Japan, MEMS Pavilion)

Liquid Particle Counter

Lighthouse Worldwide Solutions

San Jose, CA

Based on optical particle-counter technology, the Remote LPC 0.2 liquid particle counter detects particles in the 0.2–2.0-µm range at a sample flow rate of 100 ml/min. It provides real-time, continuous data collection and integrates seamlessly with monitoring/management systems in large facilities. The unit transfers four channels of simultaneous particle-count data using RS-485 Modbus. It has a stainless-steel enclosure, status indicators, and an external alarm output.

Wafer Edge–Grinding Tool


Ecublens, Switzerland

The Laser Microjet uses a laser and water to grind wafer edges. Contained within a very thin stream, the laser performs grinding and cutting while the water cools process parts. The minimal thermal damage that results from the grinding procedure limits material changes. The tool’s low water pressure ensures that virtually no mechanical force is exerted during processing, enabling rapid, damage-free wafer grinding. Grinding speeds range from 50 to 200 mm/sec, and the tool can produce any type of edge contour. It can grind 150- and 200-mm wafers without requiring tool modification and handles wafer thicknesses from 25 to 300 µm. (Semicon Japan, Booth 11B-209)

All-Plastic Degassing Valve

Plast-O-Matic Valves

Cedar Grove, NJ

The Series DGV all-thermoplastic automatic continuous degassing valve is used in corrosive applications that are subject to outgassing, such as sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, and ozone systems. The normally open valve has an internal float that pivots an arm-and-seal assembly as it rises and falls. When liquid fills the system, the float rises and the valve closes. As air or gas accumulates in the valve, it displaces liquid and allows the float to fall, reopening the valve and releasing the gas. The process repeats as gas builds up. An O-ring assembly is used to energize the arm and control the pivoting action. The valve has a 1½-in. NPT process connection and a 11/8;-in. NPT outlet. Valve body materials are offered in Geon PVC or Corzan CPVC, with EPDM or FKM (Viton) seals. The float is manufactured from natural polypropylene.

Spincoat Dispenser

Specialty Coating Systems

Indianapolis, IN

SCS Multi-Dispense, a versatile coating dispenser for use with SCS spincoat systems, enables operators to control up to four coating modules through one unit, eliminating the need for time-consuming cleaning and changeover. The unit is powered and controlled by an SCS programmable spincoat system. A stainless-steel and a high-density polyethylene module are available to accommodate a wide range of coatings, including photoresists, polyimides, metallorganics and dopants, solvents, and cleaning solutions. The use of multiple dispensing modules with any programmable SCS spincoat system allows users to quickly and easily control which coatings or solvents are applied.

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