Rudolph Ships 100th Wafer Edge and Backside Inspection System


An increasing number of fabs recognize value of all-surface inspection

FLANDERS, NJ (November 14, 2007) - Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC), a worldwide leader in high-performance process characterization systems for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, today announced that it has shipped 100 of its edge and backside automated macro defect inspection tools to chipmakers around the world. The edge and backside of the wafer, which are primary sources of defectivity, are areas where manufacturers can realize maximum returns from their investment in inspection and control technology.

"Manufacturers know that the wafer edge and backside contribute a disproportionately large share of defects for advanced nodes," said Tuan Le, all-surface inspection product manager at Rudolph. "With our image-based technology, they not only detect a defect, they see it in full color. In most cases, they can immediately identify the defect, determine its root cause, and take corrective action, without having to transfer the wafer to a review tool for further analysis. In addition to defect detection, the system can automatically monitor the edge bead removal (EBR) quality to flag wafers with poor edge film adhesion before the film has a chance to delaminate."

At the wafer edge, multiple films overlap in a complex geometry, making the area prone to defects such as arcing, chipping, and delamination. The difficulty is compounded as manufacturers seek to extend the usable surface of the wafer closer to the edge. Backside defects, such as particles, can migrate to the front of the wafer or indirectly cause defects when they lodge between the wafer and the chuck and distort the frontside surface. Edge and backside inspection is being rapidly adopted for many lithography, CMP and post-etch applications. For example, immersion lithography, with its potential to transport defects in the immersion fluid, has increased the demand for edge and backside inspection by leading semiconductor manufacturers.

Unlike laser scanning technologies that detect defects based on scattered light, Rudolph's intuitive, full color, image-based inspection allows engineers to quickly and efficiently correlate the defects they see to the process they are running. Discover(TM) and TrueADC(TM) data analysis software, also provided by Rudolph, are designed to quickly classify the defect, analyze the root cause and direct corrective action. Defect images are captured concurrently as part of the inspection process, and can be viewed in real time or stored for subsequent review and analysis.

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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