KLA-Tencor Announces New Collaboration with Spansion
Spansion uses KLA-Tencor's MicroLoop and eS31 inspection technology to cut critical FEOL defect detection time in half without utilizing test chips

SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 21, 2005--KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ: KLAC) today announced that a collaboration with Spansion's Fab 25 in Austin, Texas, has opened up a new application for its MicroLoop electrical defect detection methodology that enabled Spansion to detect critical bridging defects on advanced flash memory product wafers in production nearly twice as fast as previous methods. This effort leveraged the use of KLA-Tencor's eS31 electron-beam (e-beam) inspection system in conjunction with its proprietary MicroLoop methodology. As a result, Spansion has deployed the eS31 and MicroLoop to assist in the production of its 90-nm MirrorBit™ technology and its 110-nm NOR flash technology.

"KLA-Tencor's MicroLoop methodology uses state-of-the-art technology for monitoring flash memory devices on layers with layouts that mimic standard MicroLoop test structures, enabling us to apply the MicroLoop methodology on product wafers without having to engage in additional test chip design or utilize test wafers," said Alfredo Herrera, Contamination Free Manufacturing (CFM) manager for Spansion's Fab 25. "In addition to achieving greater inspection throughput, the combination of MicroLoop and the eS31 provided enhanced sensitivity to unique killer defects, which we were able to identify as electrical shorts."

Creating a Best Practice for Flash Memory Chipmakers
With the widest range of imaging conditions for sub-50-nm physical defects and subtle electrical defects, the eS31 enables chipmakers to achieve fast yield learning and efficient electrical line monitoring. By adding the MicroLoop methodology to an eS31 inspection strategy, fabs can reduce time to root-cause identification of front-end-of-line (FEOL) and back-end-of-line (BEOL) yield-limiting defects by 50 percent. Normally, the MicroLoop methodology is implemented through the integration of customized test structures with e-beam inspection and on-board defect analysis (or defect analysis software). However, for flash memory development, the MicroLoop methodology can be applied without requiring the use of test chips. This translates into several weeks of inspection time savings versus end-of-line electrical probe on production wafers, resulting in substantial cost savings and yield ramp benefits.

"The rapid lifecycles associated with many of today's consumer electronics products have placed enormous pressure on our customers to speed their time-to-market in order to achieve their profitability goals," stated Mike Kirk, vice president of KLA-Tencor's Wafer Inspection Group. "This is driving us to work more closely with key customers, like Spansion, to develop solutions and best practices that enable them to ramp up their yields higher and faster. Even shaving off a few weeks from our customers' yield-learning cycle times can translate into millions of dollars in additional revenue for them through earlier market penetration."

The eS31 provides the sensitivity needed to detect extremely small (sub-50-nm) physical defects and electrical defects. The system's extended optics, improved data processing rate and rules-based binning (RBB) all contribute to the eS31's throughput, which is up to six times greater than that of competing e-beam inspection tools. It is the first system in the eS3x product family to integrate the company's proprietary MicroLoop technology, which provides early information about yield-critical electrical issues that previously took weeks to obtain using an electrical probe.

About Spansion: Spansion, the Flash memory venture of AMD and Fujitsu, is the largest company in the world dedicated exclusively to developing, designing and manufacturing Flash memory solutions. In fiscal 2004, Spansion's total net sales were approximately $2.3 billion. The company offers the broadest NOR Flash memory portfolio in the industry, for use in the wireless, automotive, networking, telecommunications and consumer electronics markets. Spansion's portfolio is supported by a worldwide network of advanced manufacturing facilities, system-level expertise and dedicated design support, and an unwavering commitment to our customers' success. Information about Spansion™ Flash memory solutions is available at http://www.spansion.com

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 was named one of the Best Managed Companies in America for 2005 by Forbes Magazine and is the only company in the semiconductor industry to receive the accolade for this year. KLA-Tencor is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol KLAC. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at http://www.kla-tencor.com

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