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Posted: March 10, 2009

Leading Memory IC Manufacturer Evaluates Qcept Technologies' NVD Inspection Solution for Sub-40-nm Applications

(Nanowerk News) Qcept Technologies Inc. announced today that its ChemetriQ® non-visual defect (NVD) inspection solution is being evaluated by one of the world's leading memory manufacturers for use in its most advanced pilot-production line. The ChemetriQ system is primarily being used to inspect memory wafers incorporating sub-40-nm design rules. The system is also inspecting advanced R&D wafers that incorporate novel materials, processes and device structures.
Qcept's ChemetriQ system is being evaluated for a number of applications, such as in-line yield learning to accelerate ramp-up of next-generation processes, excursion monitoring, and pre-scanning prior to sending wafers to the analytical lab to enable faster root-cause analysis of NVDs. These evaluations are being performed at a number of process steps, including post-etch cleans, post-chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) cleans, pre-diffusion cleans, and incoming wafer inspection.
"Despite the current downturn in the semiconductor industry, leading IC manufacturers continue to invest in new technologies that help them to transition to the next node and quickly ramp up their yields on their next-generation products," stated Erik Smith, president of Qcept Technologies. "As the percentage of non-visual defects found in advanced IC manufacturing continues to rise due to tighter process tolerances, as well as the growing number of process steps and new materials, the gap between what defects are seen by optical inspection tools and what actually correlates to yield is growing. Leading manufacturers recognize this trend and its potential impact to their bottom line, and are turning to NVD inspection solutions, like our ChemetriQ technology, to enhance their total yield management strategy."
Qcept's ChemetriQ platform provides rapid, full-wafer, inline detection of NVDs - such as organic and inorganic residues, metallic contaminants, process-induced charging, and watermarks - which are undetectable by optical inspection systems. It accomplishes this by employing an innovative, non-destructive technology that detects work function variations on the surface of semiconductor wafers. The ChemetriQ platform is sensitive to 5E9 atoms/cm2, which exceeds the requirements outlined in the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) for metallic contamination detection down to the 22-nm node.
About Qcept Technologies Inc.
Qcept delivers wafer inspection solutions for non-visual defect (NVD) detection in advanced semiconductor manufacturing. Qcept's ChemetriQ(R) platform is being adopted in critical processes for inline, non-contact, full-wafer detection of such NVDs as sub-monolayer organic and metallic residues, process-induced charging, and other undesired surface non-uniformities that cannot be detected by conventional optical inspection equipment. More information can be found at www.qceptech.com.
Source: Qcept Technologies (press release)