KLA-Tencor And Samsung Complete Joint Wafer Inspection Evaluation For Advanced DRAM Technology Production
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2350 high-resolution imaging wafer inspection system reduces Samsung?s technology development cycle by at least three months

SAN JOSE, Calif., Mar. 27, 2001 - KLA-Tencor Corp. (Nasdaq: KLAC) today announced that Samsung Electronics has successfully completed its evaluation of KLA-Tencor's 2350 ultraviolet (UV) high-resolution imaging wafer inspection tool for use in monitoring the production of advanced dynamic random access memory (DRAM) devices. The 2350 UV is currently installed in Samsung's RS fab, located in Kiheung, Korea.

"KLA-Tencor's 2350 UV tool has helped us to save at least three months in our last technology development cycle," stated Dr. Moon-Yong Lee, general manager and executive vice president of semiconductor research and development center at Samsung. "We are eager to begin another joint development partnership with KLA-Tencor on advanced inspection for our next technology challenges."

The concurrent migration to copper dual damascene and 0.13-micron and smaller design rules has fueled the demand for inspection technologies with greater sensitivity that can detect process defects at these tiny geometries on both front-end of line (FEOL) lithography layers and back-end of line (BEOL) metal layers. Incorporating shorter broadband UV illumination and advanced optical noise suppression capabilities into optical inspection tools is needed to achieve the sensitivity required to detect the yield-limiting defects on patterned wafers, which are unique to these design rules. According to VLSI Research, the patterned wafer inspection market is projected at $921 million for 2001 and is expected to grow to $2.7 billion in 2004.

KLA-Tencor's 2350 UV high-resolution imaging tool is the only inspection tool to incorporate UV illumination with broadband optics, which significantly reduces noise due to color variation and results in significantly higher sensitivity compared to conventional optics. As a result, the tool has consistently demonstrated the ability to detect unique sub-100-nanometer defect types-including single missing vias, container and poly bridges, wet residues, and metal stringers-at the throughput chipmakers are demanding for line monitor and engineering analysis applications.

"We have been working closely with KLA-Tencor to establish an inspection solution for our sub-0.13-micron processes," stated Dr. Yang Hyong Kim, metrology defect manager at Samsung's RS fab. "The 2350 UV meets our expectations, and has been employed for critical inspection in production on both front-end and back-end layers. Its UV illumination has been key in detecting small defects on critical pattern transfer layers, and its unique optical modes have been valuable in suppressing noise from color variation and grainy metal layers. The 2350 has been instrumental in our ability to develop our advanced processes."

KLA-Tencor's 2350 UV system includes new Full Sky™ and Edge Contrast™ optical noise suppression modes for improved sensitivity and defect capture on both BEOL and FEOL layers. An improved image computer and more powerful software algorithms enable the 2350 UV to achieve a two-fold increase in processing speed compared to KLA-Tencor's previous generation 21xx imaging inspection platform. The 2350 UV also features in-line automatic defect classification (iADC), which provides more accurate binning for faster analysis and real time classification of defects during inspection with minimal impact to throughput for faster time to results.

"We have booked more than $125 million in orders for the 2350 UV since its introduction last July, and it is currently running in advanced development and production lines worldwide," stated Rick Wallace, executive vice president of KLA-Tencor's Wafer Inspection Group. "That, coupled with this latest evaluation by Samsung, is testament to the value that our latest imaging inspection technology brings in helping chipmakers accelerate their advanced device yields."

Full Sky and Edge Contrast are trademarks of KLA-Tencor.


About KLA-Tencor: KLA-Tencor is the world leader in yield management and process control solutions for semiconductor manufacturing and related industries. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the company has sales and service offices around the world. An S&P 500 company, KLA-Tencor is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol KLAC.

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