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Product Technology News

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 in-
tegrates 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.

Full-Chip Verification Tool

Brion Technologies

Santa Clara, CA

A model-based full-chip tool is used for post–resolution enhancement technique (RET) design verification. Departing from the polygon-based approach to lithography simulation and database handling, the Tachyon RDI 1100 has a hardware-accelerated data and simulation engine that performs those functions. It simulates and inspects 100% of the chip area using an image-based method. It can perform full-chip RET/optical proximity correction verification in one hour. Using post-RET design data, the tool simulates exact wafer-pattern contours across the entire chip. Wafer patterning is verified and failures are identified by comparing the simulated contours with the pre-RET design target. Simulation accuracy is achieved by using 128 calculation kernels during optical image modeling. The system’s architecture handles design files from tens to hundreds of gigabytes in size.

Tungsten Deposition Tool

Novellus Systems

San Jose, CA

Designed to meet contact and via-fill needs at the 65-nm node and below, the Altus DirectFill eliminates the need for conventional titanium/titanium nitride toolsets. The plug-fill technique can reduce contact resistance and lower cost of ownership by 50% compared with existing processes. By replacing the standard multitool Ti/TiN/W approach with a single system, the tool simplifies the tungsten deposition process. It performs an advanced preclean process in one process module, pulsed nucleation-layer (PNL) deposition of tungsten nitride in a second module, and a combined PNL and CVD tungsten-deposition step in a third module. The thin tungsten nitride barrier exhibits atomic-layer-deposition conformality and adheres to a variety of dielectric materials. All process temperatures are below 400°C, providing compatibility with future process integration requirements. The tool is available in 200- and 300-mm configurations.

Hyper-NA Immersion Litho Tool


Veldhoven, The Netherlands

An immersion lithography system with a numerical aperture (NA) of 1.2 can perform volume chip production at the 45-nm node. The Twinscan XT:1700i enables chipmakers to improve resolution by 30%. Better resolution allows fabs to achieve more chips per wafer or more functionality per chip. At the 45-nm node, the fourth-generation dual-stage tool offers a throughput of 122 wafers/hr. Its catadioptric lens design combines refractive components with mirrors to create a hyper-NA lens. With a maximum field size of 26 × 33 mm, the system provides polarized illumination for improved contrast and exposure latitude at full throughput. At an NA of 1.2, polarization enhances resolution by 5 nm.

Parts-Cleanliness Testing Station

Particle Measuring Systems

Boulder, CO

The Surfex-300, a parts-cleanliness testing station for 300-mm wafer-box applications, can be used to test large parts such as front-opening unified pods, front-opening shipping boxes, and reticle pods quickly and easily. Smaller parts can also be tested. The
automated system combines ultrasonic extraction, particle measurement, high-purity fluidics, and automated software control. It decreases testing costs by reducing sample times to one-tenth of those of traditional manual methods. Test recipes and simple menu-driven software eliminate data variability caused by human error. Reliable data with low sample-to-sample variation are ensured by establishing accurate particle baseline levels. The unit is available with a variety of particle counter sensitivities and ultrasonic frequencies.

Deep Reactive Ion Etch Tool

Surface Technology Systems

Newport, Wales, UK

Pegasus, a deep reactive ion etch system, relies on advanced silicon etch (ASE) technology. Based on the Bosch process, the tool achieves etch rates for silicon greater than 25 µm/min with excellent profile control and resist selectivity. The increased etch rate and improved uniformity lead to higher throughput and device yields. The process module’s high-density decoupled source increases etch rates by 30% and mask selectivity by 35% or more over competing systems. More-uniform plasma at the wafer surface results in improved across-wafer uniformity for both etch rate and critical dimension control. The system includes a range of software and hardware features that reduce feature roughness and improve profile control. Its modular design results in a reduced footprint and improved accessibility.

EFEM Ionization Systems

MKS, Ion Systems

Alameda, CA

Model 5225 ionization systems, which include three digital AeroBars, meet the requirements of equipment front-end modules (EFEMs) for 300-mm tools. The product lengths meet the industry’s tight spacing requirements for two-wide, three-wide, and four-wide loadport EFEM applications. The units’ emitter-point layout maximizes ionization coverage and density over the wafer at each loadport opening. Completely integratable with process tools’ control systems, the units offer real-time monitoring and adjustment of ionizer performance, alarm notification, recipe management, and setup/calibration. They also use patented single-crystal silicon emitter points, which exceed ISO Class 2 cleanliness specifications.

CMP Pad Conditioner

Morgan Advanced Ceramics

Fairfield, NJ

A pad conditioner that is used in chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) processes, Diamonex Phoenix conditioner is manufactured using a chemical vapor–deposited diamond film. The film bonds diamond grit to a silicon or ceramic substrate, resulting in an all-diamond surface that is inert to corrosive CMP slurries. This molecular diamond-bond surface avoids the chemical interactions experienced by nickel-plated and sintered conditioners and also minimizes loose diamond grit, preventing wafer scratches. Available in a range of sizes, the conditioners have improved planarity, which increases the amount of diamond that contacts the pad to be conditioned, thereby improving surface conditioning.



Concord, MA

With measurement throughput as high as 1000 sites per hour and clear imaging at the bottoms of high-aspect-ratio contact holes, the SP-1000 critical-dimension scanning electron microscope (CD-SEM) offers the ultra-low-voltage and 3-D-model-based metrology required at the 65-nm node and below. The tool uses landing energies as low as 100 eV, reducing the electron range to less than one-tenth that of conventional CD-SEMs. Its 3-D metrology provides more-accurate representation of features’ physical shape than the intensity-based measurements of older technologies.

Imprint Lithography System

Molecular Imprints

Austin, TX

A nanoimprint system for use in next-generation lithography applications, the Imprio 250 offers sub-50-nm half-pitch resolution, sub-10-nm alignment, and integrated magnification control. The tool is built around a core platform using step-and-flash imprint lithography (S-FIL) technology. It includes fully automated wafer handling for wafers as large as 300 mm and automated template-loading capability. The system has a novel in-liquid alignment and magnification control system for performing precision overlay in advanced lithography applications.

In-Line Chemical Metrology System


Sunnyvale, CA

The Sentry platform is a production-worthy in-line chemical metrology system that determines chemical composition and potential yield- or process-limiting defects. Featuring proprietary in-line mass spectrometry (ILMS) technology, the platform forms the core of the chemical composition metrology (CCM) and trace contamination metrology (TCM) systems. Sentry CCM deploys ILMS technology to meet the chemical composition challenges associated with copper ECD processes, including bath mismanagement, fill reproducibility issues, mounding and overburden problems, and wafer-to-wafer consistency. Sentry TCM uses ILMS technology to identify and quantify metallics and organic contamination, protecting against potential yield-killing contamination. ILMS technology eliminates the potential for external contamination from manual sampling and the periodic drift associated with traditional analytical techniques.

Sub-90-nm Strip System

Mattson Technology

Fremont, CA

The Aspen III eHighlands dry-strip system handles critical front-end-of-line (FEOL) and back-end-of-line (BEOL) process applications, including photo-resist strip over low-k materials. Available in 200- and 300-mm versions, the tool helps chipmakers overcome the integration challenges associated with copper/low-k materials. Building on the Aspen III Highlands, the system features a proprietary inductively coupled plasma source. Its bias capability enables independent control of ion energy and ion density at low pressures, minimizing damage to low-k materials. Performing low-k strip, barrier removal, and copper surface-treatment processes in situ, it provides up to 35% lower cost of ownership than dielectric etch tools. In addition to copper/low-k processes, the tool performs ultra-low-k ashing and barrier-layer removal. With a low-pressure regime, it offers improved profile control and low-k material preservation and has a wide process window.

Chemical Concentration System


Campbell, CA

A dependable, cost-effective, point-of-use system for monitoring and controlling the concentrations of liquid chemicals, the CR-288T is fully compatible with all liquid-chemical manufacturing processes, such as CMP and wafer-surface-preparation tools. The system uses miniaturized optical reflectivity technology, delivering accurate chemical information in fractions of a second. Its advanced sensor technology is based on optical reflectivity. The 2 × 2 × 3-in. real-time sensor has no moving parts and is process transparent. The system reduces chemical consumption; provides monitoring for point-of-use chemical blending, spiking, and dilution; has waste-stream-monitoring capabilities; and provides reliable data for process development and tool troubleshooting.

Piping and Fusion Systems

George Fischer

Tustin, CA

The SYGEF Plus ultrapure-water piping system and 315 Plus infrared fusion machine are suitable for 300-mm processing. The larger-size piping system enables users to install a single 250- or 315-mm pipe instead of two 225-mm pipes, reducing overall installation costs. The piping is available in SYGEF PVDF, a high-strength, low-weight material that resists abrasions and has a wide operating temperature range. Valves and fittings come in 250-, 280-, and 315-mm sizes. The fusion machine incorporates butt fusion welds, small beads, and high joint strength. A computerized program directs the operator at each step of the joining process to minimize errors and enhance weld repeatability. The program also provides documentation on a range of weld parameters.

Patterned-Wafer Inspection Tools


San Jose, CA

The Puma 9000 series of patterned-wafer inspection tools is for use at the 65-nm node and beyond. The tools incorporate Streak technology, which combines advanced UV illumination optics with high-speed imaging to provide a range of inspection modes optimized for critical-defect detection without compromising throughput. Configurable and extendable across several technology generations, the tools offer sensitivity and throughput improvements over traditional laser scattering systems, enabling chipmakers to implement higher sampling strategies to protect wafers in process. With multiple inspection modes, the systems can be used in a variety of process applications for both logic and memory production. They also have effective pattern-filtering and noise-suppression capabilities, which provide improved defect-signal capture on critical etch layers in memory applications.

Spent-Ultrapure-Water Meters

Universal Flow Monitors

Toledo, OH

Two types of meters can help IC manufacturers to reuse spent ultrapure water: vane meters made of PVC, 316 stainless steel, and Viton; and plastic see-through variable-area meters made from polysulphone. The vane meters provide a local indication of flow rate and have a simple design. They also have cost-effective transmitters for remote readouts, recording, or data logging, and alarm switches that indicate flow failure. The SX model accommodates ¼- to ¾-in. pipe and handles flows from 3 to 20 gal/min, while the MX model is for use with ¾- to 2-in. pipe and handles flows from 10 to 160 gal/min. Insite variable-area meters enable users to see the fluid. They are available in a model for ½- to 1-in. pipe that handles flows from 5 to 15 gal/min and a model for ¾- to 1½-in. pipe that handles flows from 20 to 50 gal/min.

Barrier Slurry

Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials
CMP Technologies

Phoenix, AZ

Optimized for low-pressure/ low-stress copper CMP, SSA barrier slurry provides consistent performance, low defectivity, and a large process window. For use at the 90- and 65-nm nodes, the slurry leads to fewer microscratches, better sheet resistance, and lower overall defect counts than conventional slurries. High barrier-removal rates at low pressure (1.5 psi) provide high, balanced throughput while minimizing film stress or delamination. The slurry can polish combinations of barrier and cap materials, antireflective coatings, and low-k dielectric films. It attains tantalum and tetraethylorthosilicate rates above 500 Å/min at a low pH and low weight percentage of particles.

High-Current Ion Implanter

Varian Semiconductor Equipment

Gloucester, MA

The single-wafer VIISta HC high-current ion implanter provides repeatable beam steering and good contamination control. An optimized beamline improves upon the tool’s ribbon-beam architecture. Enhancements include increased beamline transmission, beam utilization, and reduced autotune time, providing high productivity for low-energy conductive implants. All VIISta products feature a common control system, positioning system, and single-wafer end station, easing their integration into factory automation, lowering spare-parts and training costs, and simplifying tool operation.

Macrodefect Management System

Rudolph Technologies

Flanders, NJ

YieldView, the yield management component of the WaferView Team used for macrodefect inspection, aids fabwide integration and the analysis of defect data generated by WaferView stand-alone and integrated i-MOD ADI inspection tools. The system enables manufacturers to improve yields by discovering defect types and identifying root causes rapidly. YieldView allows engineers to determine where and when in the process a defect first appears, what wafers have similar defects, and which processes or tools are the greatest contributors to yield loss. It also acts as a central database for recipes, defect classes, and alarm rules for inspection consistency throughout the fab. The system tracks macro- and microscale defects on the front, back, and edge of the wafer.

Strained-SOI Wafers


Bernin, France

Strained-silicon-on-insulator (sSOI) wafers enable a wide range of high-speed, low-power IC applications, including those with high-performance logic cores. The 300-mm wafers’ electron mobility enhancement factor (up to 80%) is built into the substrate, spreading the strain benefits to all regions of the IC and to all transistor geometries. In addition, the substrates can break through the power-dissipation barriers that are becoming an increasingly critical roadblock to higher-performing chips. Manufactured using the patented Smart Cut process, the substrates exhibit stress of 1.5 GPa with homogeneity of ±7% across the entire wafer, which is equivalent to strain of almost 1%. The strained-silicon layer is 200 Å thick with a uniformity of ±3% and has a surface roughness comparable to that of premium bulk silicon wafers.

300-mm Overlay Tool

Accent Optical Technologies

Bend, OR

The Caliper élan 300-mm overlay tool extends the 90-nm Caliper platform to 65 nm and beyond. The tool has a new focus system, new optics, new recipe management, and new measurement algorithms. Sub-nanometer-level precision and excellent tool-to-tool matching capability satisfy the performance requirements needed for next-generation processes. With 15–30% greater throughput than competitive tools, the system has a reliable and secure Linux operating system, providing a low cost of ownership in overlay technology. The forward-compatibility guarantee program maximizes customers’ capital efficiency by extending the system’s life over multiple device generations. The tool is fully compatible with automated material handling and factory automation systems, and is available with up to four loadports.

Wafer Heater Assembly

GE Quartz

Strongsville, OH

An integrated heater assembly platform helps optimize the performance of heaters and electrostatic chucks in chipmaking equipment. The custom assembly, a critical subsystem in semiconductor wafer chambers, combines customer-specific mechanical, electrical, and thermal engineering with advanced chemical-vapor-deposited ceramic heaters and e-chucks. By considering the thermal, plasma, mechanical, and electrical boundary conditions of the chamber, the integrated heater assembly design optimizes the performance of the entire system. The company’s heaters and e-chucks are mechanically and thermally more robust than sintered-ceramic alternatives. They enable temperature ramp rates exceeding 10°C/sec, with maximum temperatures up to 1300°C. They also offer precise temperature control, generally within ±1%.

Workstation/Equipment Monitor


San Jose, CA

In addition to monitoring electrostatic chucks and electrostatic discharge, the Series 7000 workstation/process equipment monitor can communicate with industry-standard particle counters and particle detectors. More powerful than its predecessor, the Series 6000, the unit can directly perform statistical process control calculations and direct tool communications. It can report data using Ethernet, RS-485, and Modbus protocols. In addition, it can perform ionization balance monitoring with automatic or manual decay testing to detect field charge. It also conducts electromagnetic interference magnitude monitoring, pulse counting, dual-channel ground monitoring, and operator voltage or body current detection. The modular instrument allows users to add optional plug-in process enhancements.

Real-Time FDC System


Dublin, Ireland

A scalable fault detection and classification (FDC) system for semiconductor manufacturing, the Imprint MX2 provides fabs and foundries with portable fault libraries, improved FDC sensitivity across fault types, and data-mining capabilities. The system’s user-configurable features permit operators to deploy the most appropriate FDC controls for individual tools and processes, enabling them to implement FDC process control with a scalable, multiuser software platform. The system also allows users to extract large volumes of information from process-state sensors, such as broadband radio-frequency or optical sensors. Its data-mining features include an SQL server database, allowing customers to archive, retrieve, and manage data. The portability of the system’s fault libraries lets users transfer FDC libraries across entire toolsets both within sites and from site to site.

Six-Axis Nanopositioning System

Physik Instrumente (PI)

Auburn, MA

A six-axis piezo nanopositioning and nanoscanning system, the P-587.6CD is for use in nanomanufacturing, nanometrology, scanning microscopy, optics, mask alignment, and other high-end applications. The system offers six degrees of freedom, six-axis digital control, active trajectory-error compensation, millisecond responsiveness, nanometer resolution, and travel ranges to 800 µm. It also features an integrated autocalibration function for fast setup and interchangeability of controllers and nanomechanisms. The system has a parallel-metrology design for improved multiaxis precision. With parallel metrology, all sensors measure the position of the same moving platform against the same stationary reference (the fixed frame), ensuring that all motion is inside the servo loop, no matter which actuator may have caused it. The parallel-kinematics, single-module design reduces inertia and the center of gravity for fast response and settling.

Liquid-Dispense Module


Austin, TX

Suitable for use at the 45-nm node, the TAKLDM liquid-dispense module can blend and control a wide variety of dilute chemistries. Offering process and tool flexibility, the unit is based on FractalFill, a patent-pending approach that provides a continuously analytically qualified chemistry to precise specifications. Once the chemistry is blended, the system gives users the power to change recipes on the fly.

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.

FOUP/Carrier Cleaners

Austin American Technology

Austin, TX

Systems are available for cleaning plastic front-opening unified pods (FOUPs), front-opening shipping boxes (FOSBs), and other plastic wafer-handling carriers and devices. The cleaning chemistries used in conveyorized or batch cleaning systems, plus effective media isolation technology, remove contaminants such as inks, fingerprints, oily spots, glue residue, and silicone mold-release agents. The chemistries do not harm the plastics and meet cleanroom requirements while preventing recontamination or contamination migration.

STEM System


Hillsboro, OR

The Titan 80-300 scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) yields atomic-scale imaging with a TEM information limit below 0.7 Å and STEM resolution below 1 Å. The microscope, part of the UltraView tool suite, performs critical fab applications including seed/barrier layer characterization for copper interconnect processes, ultrathin gate oxide imaging, and high-resolution x-ray composition analysis. UltraView provides semiconductor manufacturers with the ability to collect ultra-high-resolution analytical information from wafers, providing process control feedback in minutes rather than days. The process reduces the cost of ultra-high-resolution analysis, which is often required to inspect complex devices.

ArF Excimer Laser


Oyama, Japan

For use as a mass-production lithography light source at the 65-nm node and below, the GT40A is a 4-kHz argon fluoride (ArF) excimer laser equipped with an injection-locking resonator. The resonator ensures highly stable emission of a deep ultraviolet beam with a high output of 45 W. It also offers a spectral bandwidth of 0.2 pm for full-width half maximum and 0.5 pm for E95, the highest bandwidth level in the semiconductor industry. In in-house and OEM tests, the laser has demonstrated stabilized high performance, low running costs, and excellent reliability and uptime. The injection-locking technology reduces the load on the laser optics. In addition, the system configuration has been refined to reduce the number of consumables (modules) and their replacement frequency. A self-diagnosis function simplifies module replacement and serviceability.


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