For semiconductor manufacturing enterprises that use refurbished pre-owned production equipment, understanding leading edge metrology and inspection trends will help you plan for future metrology requirements and the specific tools that will be available.
New, and enhancements to, existing designs and technologies that support shrinking process sizes are driving fundamental shifts in metrology and inspection. These designs include extensions of FD-SOI (fully depleted silicon on insulator) and finFET and, in the future, gate-all-around and nanosheets.
Advanced multiple patterning techniques, multi-film stacking and new materials are increasing yield and fab productivity issues. Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and 7nm and 5nm create novel defect identification challenges.
Exponentially increasing metrology and inspection data and analytics and automated process and tool adjustment management system will continue. These capabilities include overall optimization of tools and processes, enabling more effective control of variations and relaxing the need to dedicate tools and restrict specific production processes.
Inspection rules will be applied more at a cross-product process level rather than defect specific. This methodology will be independent of the particular design and scalable. Metrology tools and process tools will work with each other using integrated controls.
New techniques are part of the advance metrology and inspection for the new semiconductor technologies and architectures and their manufacturing processes.
In-fab inspection monitors and requalifies reticles. Discovery methods using optical patterned wafer defect inspection and e-beam review tools find all systematic defect types and help identify the defect source. Inline and tool monitoring of critical defects rapidly identify excursions that affect yield.
For gate-all-around technology, optical critical dimension (OCD), transmission electron microscopy, X-ray and other techniques will be used. An e-beam inspection system adds image measurement algorithms from a CD-SEM, enabling the machine to take measurements in a full field of view.
In summary, matching tools, matching final structure, and overall optimized processing all will be employed with offset management at the end of production.