KLA-Tencor Accelerates Customers' 45nm Immersion Lithography Yield and Productivity with New Archer 100 Optical Overlay Metrology System

SEMICON JAPAN, Chiba, Japan, Dec. 6, 2006 -- KLA-Tencor, Inc., the world leader in overlay metrology technology, today introduced the Archer™ 100 optical overlay metrology system, a 45nm-generation tool designed to significantly enhance the precision and productivity of immersion and future double patterning lithography technologies. The market-leading Archer platform has been extensively re-designed to address the unique challenges of advanced lithography with over 30% improvement in precision and TMU*, up to 20% higher system utilization, plus major gains in MAM* time and virtually all other key specifications.

"Immersion lithography has dramatically elevated the patterning yield risk from overlay errors. With over 1000 overlay tools in the field, including more than 500 Archer platforms, our experience partnering with the world's most advanced chipmakers gives us a unique knowledge base that customers can count on as we drive overlay metrology into the future," noted Joseph Laia, group vice president of the Parametric Solutions Group at KLA-Tencor. "The Archer 100 system specifically targets customers' most critical overlay challenges, providing the enabling technology platform to support 45nm and below lithography. "

The combination of increasing pattern density plus 193nm immersion lithography methods is creating a novel set of pattern-based yield challenges at the 45nm node and below. In immersion lithography, unique effects require new analytical capability and significantly more sampling to ensure accurate alignment and to detect the source of overlay errors.

The Archer 100 system's new µAIM™ (MicroAIM) target option provides much more information to the overlay tool, while still utilizing the same small area on a chip, by closely simulating overlay-sensitive chip structures. This robust target technology enables greater stability under a wide variety of exposure and process conditions, for higher reliability.

The Archer 100 effectively solves the problem of lower contrast measurements, such as on amorphous carbon hardmask films, with a new illumination system that can improve measurement accuracy and robustness in 45nm and below high-volume memory production. System throughput exceeds 80 wafers per hour using typical production sampling. Overall productivity has been increased by over 20% compared to the previous Archer system.

KLA-Tencor Archer 100 Overlay Metrology System: Technology Summary

The Archer 100 Solution

The Archer 100 optical overlay metrology system has been extensively redesigned for advanced lithography applications at the 45nm node and beyond.

· Redesigned optics for better site-by-site matching; low aberration to meet tight 45nm overlay budgets

· Tighter stage tolerances contribute to greater repeatability

· A new imaging system enables improved signal-to-noise ratio with low-contrast films, plus lower pixel distortion

· Advanced illumination modes reduce tool-induced shift

· The Archer 100 platform is designed for later upgrades that can be used with double-patterning lithography

Together, these features improve TMU specifications by more than 30% over existing tools, to 1.4nm TMU (Total Measurement Uncertainty). The Archer 100 system enhancements also provide shorter MAM time; enhanced algorithms and built-in diagnostics deliver the high levels of process robustness and productivity needed for immersion and double patterning lithography.

Optimized for optically engineered patterning films, the Archer 100's new illumination system gives it improved ability to manage lower contrast measurements, such as those on amorphous carbon hardmasks. This low-contrast layer measurement capability allows higher accuracy and robustness for better scanner matching and lithography process control.

The advanced Archer Analyzer overlay analysis software option utilizes advanced algorithms and data filters to analyze the system's results on-tool and in real time to determine if a given wafer lot has met predetermined parameters, such as overlay maximum error prediction (MEP), an d to provide critical litho cell corrections. This scanner correction data enables lithographers to quickly address variations in lithography tool performance, minimizing cycle time and yield loss.

The Archer 100 system's enhanced Recipe Database Manager Plus (RDM+) gives operators offline access to a centralized database to leverage previ ously proven recipe components, including recipe comparison and recipe validation functions. This red uces setup time, and increases reliability and recipe success rate in high-volume manufacturing.

A new capability of the Archer 100, the system's Automatic Recipe Optimization (ARO) algorithms allow less experienced operators to easily create optimal recipes offline, freeing up valuable engineering resources in the fab. ARO eliminates human intervention and speeds the historically lengthy recipe setup time by 2x to 6x, saving significant on-tool time. These factors, together with the system's other productivity enhancements, improve overall utilization by >20% over the previous generation platform.

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