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Applied PROVision™ eBeam Inspection

As design rules scale into the single-digit nodes and device architectures become progressively denser and more complex, fabrication processes involve more steps, process control limits become tighter, and killer defects become smaller. These challenges make defect discovery and characterization ever more crucial in producing high yields of reliable, high-performance chips.

Multi-patterning schemes, 3D features, and high aspect ratio structures demand higher resolution and a wider range of imaging capabilities to inspect the growing number of layers in a design for physical defects. Equally important, trends in the distribution of process variations (also referred to as process signatures) must be promptly discerned to expedite correction of the root cause to shorten ramp time, and optimize yields in volume production.

The Applied PROVision ebeam inspection (EBI) system offers capabilities that address these challenges, fulfilling needs specific to research and development through ramp to production. An industry first, featuring resolution down to 1nm, the hotspot inspection system can detect defects never before seen by EBI technology. The system’s high current density (beam current per sampling area) eliminates the sampling/throughput tradeoff of previous systems, allowing the fastest sampling throughput at its exceptional resolution. Imaging capabilities encompass the most advanced techniques, such as see-through, high aspect ratio, 360° topography, and back-scattered electron detection.

The PROVision system incorporates a best-in-class, production-proven column that leverages Applied’s more than 20-year experience in e-beam development and application. Its advanced technology powers high resolution, leading-edge imaging, and high throughput. The system combines these capabilities with high-precision massive sampling that reveals hidden process signatures across the entire wafer, enabling expedited identification of the root causes of defects. This in turn improves yield and saves production costs.