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Higher Productivity for Applied VIISta™ Ion Implanters

Achieve 3–5% increased tool uptime and a 3–5% boost in productive hours for high-current, medium-current and high-energy tools

By Daniel Simon

Ion implant tools are essential for semiconductor manufacturing because dopants such as arsenic, boron and phosphorous must be implanted into silicon to fabricate transistor structures such as gates and wells. This holds true whether customers produce the most advanced 300mm digital logic and memory circuits; use 200mm processes to build analog, power and other products; or make CMOS image sensors.

Thus the need to achieve higher productivity from ion implanters reaches across the industry. In older fabs where space constraints prohibit installation of additional tools, the focus may be on boosting the output of existing implanters. High-volume fabs may be focused on high uptime and more wafers out to relieve tool throughput constraints. In all cases, manufacturers seeking a higher financial return on investment (ROI) from their tools recognize that higher productivity is an effective way to achieve a lower overall cost of ownership.

To help customers increase the productivity of their ion implanters, Applied Materials has introduced Implant Applied Managed Service.™ This comprehensive service offering provides a 3–5% increase in tool uptime with an additional 3–5% increase in productive hours for high-current, medium-current, and high-energy Applied Materials VIISta™ implanters. The result is a significant total increase in wafer output for a customer’s fleet of implant tools.

Applied Managed Service offerings are service agreements designed to increase a customer’s operational efficiency by addressing specific corrective and preventive maintenance requirements to improve tool performance. They provide genuine Applied Materials non-consumable parts and managed inventory support. Priority support for non-consumable parts is provided, as is rapid on-site response for downs.

The two key performance indicators (KPIs) for the new Implant Applied Managed Service are uptime and output. These are tied to SEMI’s E10 Specification for Definition and Measurement of Equipment Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability, and are commonly used to measure and benchmark tool and fab performance.

Multiple Productivity Improvements

The higher productivity enabled by the Implant Applied Managed Service is a result of the combined effects of multiple improvements. They include faster and better ion beam-tuning, optimized recipes, reduced variability among a fab’s tools, fewer potential bottlenecks in downstream tools, less downtime (both planned and unscheduled), greater predictive maintenance inputs, faster corrective action, and faster green-to-green times. To accomplish all of this, Applied Materials will provide a wide array of resources based on customer requirements, including:

  • Advanced analytical solutions that enable more wafers out and more productive uptime.
  • Customer engineer (CE) tool-monitoring dashboards.
  • Alternative-materials parts that reduce maintenance requirements and increase mean time to failure (MTTF). (See figure 1.)
  • Guaranteed parts availability at no additional cost (for the platen, robotics and processors) and parts repair/ refurbishment services.
  • Experienced engineers with advanced training in ion implantation applications and tools, enabled by algorithms and predictive models from the Applied Materials field service server.
  • Advanced preventive maintenance (PM) and best known methods (BKMs).
  • A FabVantage 360™ performance assessment (if needed to meet the KPIs specified in the customer agreement).


Figure 1. All required parts are included at no extra cost in the new Implant Applied Managed Service, such as alternative materials parts that reduce maintenance needs and have a longer MTTF. Shown above are some of the ion source parts that may be included as needed.

The Implant Applied Managed Service makes use of a suite of sophisticated data analytics enabled by Applied’s field service server, such as a proprietary fab dashboard and technical data warehouse that Applied CEs use to optimize tools for increased output and reliability.

Applied Materials advanced analytics encompass univariate analysis (UVA), tool matching, predictive maintenance, and advanced troubleshooting techniques. These analytical solutions are derived from Applied’s unique and extensive tool- and process knowledge base, reflecting the company’s position both as the leading tool OEM and as a leading service provider to hundreds of fabs worldwide over the past 50 years.

With actionable analytics, Applied CEs can observe and analyze real-time tool and production data and then compare it to known BKM values to pinpoint areas that can be improved.

Daily, weekly and on-demand reports provide critical information on all relevant conditions affecting productivity, such as incorrect recipe parameters, inconsistencies in tool performance, and mechanical issues arising from a tool’s robotic components. Applied CEs use this information to optimize the customer’s implant tools and achieve better performance and more wafers out.

The daily reports summarize all UVAs and highlight tool issues, pointing to specific tool modules, recipes, etc. (see figure 2).


Figure 2. At left is a daily dashboard report showing ion source predictive maintenance (PdM) and beam-tuning status, and the health of major assemblies. When a yellow/red indicator shows a tool issue, Applied CEs use the drill-down UVA charts on the right to diagnose and quickly address the situation.

The weekly reports summarize the beam-tune success rate and the duration of beam-tuning, in order to localize and fix tool and recipe issues (see figure 3).


Figure 3. Above on the left is a weekly dashboard report showing tool performance per tool and per recipe. Red, orange, and yellow squares indicate substandard performance. Applied CEs use data transformation at top right to derive tool recommendations listed at bottom right.

Demonstrated Performance

Implant Applied Managed Service has been successfully deployed at a number of customer fabs around the world. These include fabs that manufacture memory devices, analog products, CMOS logic devices and CMOS imagers. Some customers mostly want to increase uptime from their implant tools, while the paramount need for others is to increase wafer output.

Figure 4 shows how one customer achieved a more than 4% average uptime improvement across a fleet of 6 tools. The improvement over baseline performance (88%) was achieved through: (a) the use of beam-tune optimization; (b) 10 analytical models and tool health checks; (c) “refreshed” parts based on health-check data; (d) parts availability and increased inventories of spares; and (e) the dedication of specific CE skills and resources to address productivity issues.


Figure 4. The new Implant Applied Managed Service helped one customer achieve >4% average uptime improvement across a fleet of 6 tools.

In another case, Implant Applied Managed Service helped a 300mm customer meet upcoming production demands driven by the ramp-up of a new product. Ion implanter uptime was increased by 5.8% over a 3-month period by reducing system variability and the time needed for preventive/corrective maintenance, and by optimizing product recipes and parts (see figure 5).


Figure 5. Implant Applied Managed Service helped a 300mm customer increase ion implanter uptime by 5.8% over a 3-month period, which enabled the fab to meet upcoming production demands driven by the ramp-up of a new product.

This new managed service helped another customer attain a 4.2% increase in overall productive time across its fleet of implanter tools. The result was achieved after Applied CEs performed data analytics using Applied’s proprietary FSS platform, which determined that the tools’ arc-to-beam current ratio was too high, and gas flow was too low, compared to reference data.

Once the recipe parameters were optimized, the beam-tune success rate went from 75% to 100%, and the time needed for the procedure was cut in half, from six minutes to three (see figure 6).


Figure 6. Actual customer data following an Implant Applied Managed Service engagement. The beam-tune time was driven down for all tool recipes, and the beam-tune success rate was increased.

Conclusion

Implant Applied Managed Service can deliver significantly improved productivity to customers who use Applied Materials VIISta™ ion implanters. It is specifically designed to help them achieve greater wafer output, increased uptimes, reduced variability in uptimes across a fleet of tools, and a greater ability to identify and address difficult problems.

This new offering is part of a broad and ever expanding portfolio of flexible, innovative service products designed to ensure that customers’ Applied tools and fabs run as efficiently and productively as possible.

For additional information, contact daniel_simon@ amat.com.