KLA-Tencor And Mitsubishi Conduct Joint Evaluation of Advanced Overlay Metrology Technology for Sub-100-nm IC Production
KLA-Tencor's Archer AIM overlay metrology solution demonstrated superior performance in reducing total measurement uncertainty associated with traditional overlay metrology methods

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 13, 2003 - KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ: KLAC) today announced that Mitsubishi Electric Corp. has completed the first phase of its evaluation of KLA-Tencor's new Archer AIM overlay metrology technology for use in sub-100-nm integrated circuit (IC) production. According to Mitsubishi, Archer AIM demonstrated superior performance in reducing the total measurement uncertainty associated with traditional overlay metrology methods. Introduced last month, Archer AIM leverages a new patented grating-style technology that can incorporate features that are the same size as features built onto the device. This enables lithographers to obtain more accurate feedback on their lithography processes and achieve tighter overlay control. As a result, Archer AIM helps chipmakers reduce the costly wafer rework and scrap associated with overlay errors, as well as accelerate their transition to future technology nodes.

In advanced lithography, traditional box-in-box overlay targets can no longer accurately reflect the performance of the patterning process on the device. Overlay metrology methods are needed that can measure design-rule segmented targets, where each grating line is designed at the device's actual design rule," stated Koichiro Tsujita, lithography group manager of the Advanced Device Department at Mitsubishi Electric Corporation's ULSI Development Center. "In a recent evaluation with our 90-nm design rule process, KLA-Tencor's Archer AIM technology demonstrated superior precision and tool-induced-shift performance over standard box-in-box targets. With its ability to measure design-rule segmented overlay targets, Archer AIM met our aggressive evaluation goals, significantly improving total measurement uncertainty."

Incorporating features that are the same size as those on the actual device, Archer AIM's new grating-style targets are denser than traditional box-in-box targets, resulting in the collection of more process information for improved correlation to in-device overlay performance. Another advantage of Archer targets is that they can be customized for each layer to meet specific customer requirements. Due to their unique grating design, Archer targets are also more robust to chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) processing, especially with new materials, since the targets have less open area within which these advanced processes can cause target degradation. These benefits, combined with Archer AIM's industry-leading, sub-nanometer-precision, enable the system to significantly reduce the total measurement uncertainty compared to existing overlay metrology solutions resulting in improved overlay control and yield.

"Total measurement uncertainty will play an increasingly critical role in determining the manufacturability of the lithography process as we move toward the 65-nm node and beyond," stated Avi Cohen, senior vice president and general manager of KLA-Tencor's Optical Metrology Division. "In fact, at the 65 nm node, reducing systematic overlay errors by just 6 nm can result in 1 percent less rework, representing savings of more than $500,000 for each scanner on the production floor. Through collaborative efforts with partners, such as Mitsubishi, KLA-Tencor has succeeded in developing a new breakthrough in overlay control that enables our customers to manage their advanced lithography processes with a greater degree of confidence, as well as helps to ease their transition to future device generations."

Note to Editors: A technical fact sheet on Archer AIM is available upon request.

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., with operations around the world, KLA-Tencor ranked #6 on S&P's 2002 index of the top 500 companies in the U.S. KLA-Tencor is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol KLAC.

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