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  Date: 14/12/2020

New KLA' metrology systems to test semiconductor molecular skyscrapers

Semiconductor manufacturing process control and yield management expert KLA launched two new products PWG5 wafer geometry system and the Surfscan SP7XP wafer defect inspection system to use in the production of highly integrated three-dimensional semiconductor memory and logic manufacturing, which can be termed as molecular skyscrapers.

The PWG5 metrology system can identify and correct patterned wafer distortion at the source. Moreover, these critical wafer geometry measurements can now be accomplished for large warp ranges at inline speeds.

"The complex multilayer construction of 3D NAND has moved wafer geometry measurements to the forefront," said Jijen Vazhaeparambil, general manager of the Surfscan and ADE division at KLA. "Our new patterned wafer geometry system, the PWG5, has the sensitivity to measure any deviations from planarity on the front side and back side of the wafer simultaneously. Its first-of-a-kind inline speed and exceptional resolution support not only 3D NAND, but also advanced DRAM and logic applications. Coupled with KLA's 5D Analyzer® data analytics system, the PWG5 helps our customers drive decisions, such as wafer re-work, process tool re-calibration, or alerting the lithography system so that best possible patterning corrections can be applied. The PWG5 system plays a critical role in process control, helping grow advanced memory and logic yield, performance and fab profitability."

The trend in chip industry is, 5nm node devices are produced in volumes and soon 3nm chips to follow. EUV lithography is now common at these nodes using either finFET or gate all around (GAA) transistor architecture. Such extra-ordinary tech require exquisite defectivity control, including use of unpatterned wafer inspectors for careful qualification of starting substrates and materials, and frequent monitoring of processes and tools. KLA says its new Surfscan SP7XP unpatterned wafer defect inspection is more advanced in sensitivity and throughput compared to its previous such systems and it uses AI machine learning-based defect classification to capture and identify even wider range of defect types on an even wider range of blanket films than KLA's Surfscan SP7.

Vazhaeparambil added, "The Surfscan design team focused not only on technical advances to support sensitivity and defect classification, but also on improving the cost of ownership." As a result, the Surfscan SP7XP represents a single-tool solution for unpatterned wafer inspection applications from R&D to high volume manufacturing of leading-edge design node substrates and devices. It is in use at silicon wafer manufacturers, semiconductor equipment manufacturers developing defect-free processes, and semiconductor fabs for ensuring incoming wafer, process and tool quality.

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