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Micro/Nano Lithography

Monitor-wafer defect inspection system

KLA-Tencor Corporation has introduced the Surfscan® SP2XP, a new monitor-wafer inspection system for the integrated circuit (IC) market that builds upon the success of its sister tool with the same name, introduced last year for the wafer manufacturing market.

The new Surfscan SP2XP features improved sensitivity to defects on silicon, poly and metal films and enhanced ability to sort defects by type and size, compared with its predecessor, the industry-leading Surfscan SP2. It also features vacuum handling and best-in-class throughput. These capabilities are designed to enable chipmakers to bring their leading-edge (>4Xnm) devices to market faster by delivering superior process tool monitoring throughout the fab. The new system also introduces an ultra-high sensitivity operating mode to accelerate fabs' development of 3Xnm and 2Xnm next-generation devices.

"Manufacturers of high performance devices are seeing the complexity of the chip-making process increase at the same time that market windows for these devices are tightening," observed Mike Kirk, vice president and general manager of the Wafer Inspection Group at KLA-Tencor. "The Surfscan SP2XP system addresses the need to quickly flag process tools which are generating excessive defectivity, so that the problem can be corrected with minimal wafer scrap, yield loss and market delay. Our new tool addresses this challenge, not only through advancements in sensitivity and throughput, but also by introducing the capability to distinguish particles from microscratches and residues without the need to expend resources on SEM review. We believe the Surfscan SP2XP will help fabs accelerate production of their leading-edge devices."