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Micro/Nano Lithography

DUV unpatterned wafer inspection


KLA-Tencor CorporationTM announces a new generation in the Surfscan® family of wafer defect and surface quality inspection systems: the Surfscan SP3. As the first unpatterned wafer inspection platform to incorporate deep-ultraviolet (DUV) illumination, the Surfscan SP3 systems feature dramatic advances in sensitivity and throughput over their industry-benchmark predecessor, the Surfscan SP2XP. The Surfscan SP3 platform is also designed for extension to the next wafer size: 450mm.

The Surfscan SP3 system is designed to help develop and manufacture substrates for = 28nm devices that are nearly atomically smooth and free from polish marks, crystalline pits, terracing, voids or other defects that disrupt the electrical integrity of the transistor. Because these defects cannot be reliably detected by current-generation inspection systems at production speeds, substrate manufacturers have had difficulty achieving satisfactory yields with these top-grade, next-node wafers. KLA-Tencor's engineers have built the Surfscan SP3 inspection system with the DUV sensitivity and throughput needed to reliably identify critical defects and surface quality issues inline during substrate manufacturing.

In the IC fab, manufacturers must also be able to monitor rough and smooth unpatterned films after deposition and chemical mechanical polish (CMP) to ensure that process tools are not adding defects. The Surfscan SP3 leverages its unique DUV wavelength, special apertures and multiple illumination and collection channels to address stringent 28nm node requirements for defect detection and classification on blanket films at production speeds. The SP3 also offers a module that inspects the back side of wafers for defects that might deform the wafer shape during photolithography.

The extensive capabilities of the Surfscan SP3 are enabled by the following new features and improvements over the current-generation Surfscan platform:

  • Powerful DUV source and DUV-optimized optics, to help capture critical defects affecting devices at the 28nm node and below;
  • New stage and new image computer that, together with algorithm improvements, enable increased production throughput;
  •  DUV-specific apertures that enhance defect capture on blanket films; 
  • Integrated, high resolution (~100 mega-pixel), full-wafer SURFmonitorTM haze maps , providing automated capture of ultra-fine slip lines and scratches or maps of surface roughness, grain size and other process parameters; and
  • Defect coordinate accuracy improvements that enhance re-detection and speed of defect review and classification on KLA-Tencor's eDR electron-beam review tools, allowing engineers to track down the source of a defect excursion quickly and disposition wafers accurately.