Macro Modules offer wafer edge and backside inspection.

Press Release Summary:




Suitable for any production environment, E30(TM) and B30(TM) modules are suited for inspection and in-line monitoring of 32 nm manufacturing processes from front end of line (FEOL) through final manufacturing. Edge defects as small as 2 µm on patterned, production wafers can be detected. Part of all-surface Explorer(TM) Inspection Cluster, modules can also be used with NSX(TM) Series inspection systems commonly used in outgoing quality assurance and back-end fab applications.




Original Press Release:



Rudolph Releases New Wafer Edge and Backside Macro Inspection Modules



New, production-worthy systems deliver improved sensitivity while maintaining high throughput

TAIPEI, TAIWAN (Sept. 8, 2008)- Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC), a worldwide leader in process characterization solutions for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, announced today the release of its new E30(TM) and B30(TM) modules for wafer edge and backside inspection. The third-generation E30 and B30 modules provide improved sensitivity while maintaining high throughput, making them suitable for a production environment. The new tools are equipped with the performance enhancements needed for inspection and in-line monitoring of 32 nm manufacturing processes from front end of line (FEOL) through final manufacturing. The first shipments are scheduled for 4Q08.

"Rudolph pioneered the field of edge and backside automated macro defect inspection with over 120 modules in the field, and our customers are finding that they are indispensible at the 32 nanometer node," said Tuan Le, Rudolph's all-surface inspection product manager. "Demand was driven by the switch to immersion lithography at 45 nanometers, and now we see it throughout the process, all the way to final manufacturing. Dramatic improvements in our optics allow us to detect edge defects as small as 2 µm on patterned, production wafers, and our exclusive SoftLens(TM) Technology breaks the conventional tradeoff between depth-of-field and resolution, so we can maintain excellent sensitivity over the complex curved surfaces of the bevel.

On the backside, new optics improve backside defect sensitivity to 3 µm."
Both modules use image-based inspection to provide a much richer data set than light scattering techniques; it enhances accuracy in sizing, locating and classifying defects. The E30's improved darkfield capability increases its sensitivity to 2 µm, while its ability to suppress the signal from the pattern allows inspection of production wafers. Recipe-controlled illumination greatly simplifies system use. Like its predecessors, the E30 module also provides metrology capability for the edge-bevel profile, multi-film edge bead removal and bevel clean processes.

When combined with the AXi 940 frontside module in Rudolph's Explorer(TM) Inspection Cluster, the system provides immediate correlation between backside defects and frontside defectivity. A redesigned wafer handler reduces the possibility of handler-induced film delamination by avoiding contact with complex film stacks that may now extend into the upper bevel, and onboard computing power has been increased to support future releases of more capable algorithms.

The edge and backside inspection capability can be combined in a single cabinet. While the E30 and B30 modules are part of the all-surface Explorer(TM) Inspection Cluster, they can also be used with the NSX(TM) Series inspection systems commonly used in outgoing quality assurance and back-end fab applications.

Rudolph Technologies is a worldwide leader in the design, development, manufacture and support of high-performance process control metrology, defect inspection and data analysis systems used by semiconductor device manufacturers. Rudolph provides a full-fab solution through its families of proprietary products that provide critical yield-enhancing information, enabling microelectronic device manufacturers to drive down costs and time to market. The company has enhanced the competitiveness of its products in the marketplace by anticipating and addressing many emerging trends driving the semiconductor industry's growth. Rudolph's strategy for continued technological and market leadership includes aggressive research and development of complementary metrology and inspection solutions. Headquartered in Flanders, New Jersey, Rudolph supports its customers with a worldwide sales and service organization. Additional information can be found on the company's web site at www.rudolphtech.com.

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