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Aera4™ Mask Inspection

The Applied Aera4 Mask Inspection system is a fourth-generation 193nm-based inspection tool unique in combining true aerial imaging with cutting-edge high-resolution imaging.

Equipped with a new lithography-grade lens, the Aera4 system demonstrates improved signal-to-noise for both standard high-resolution applications and aerial inspection, making it the tool of choice for 1x nm technology nodes and for early-production EUV mask inspection. The system performs highly sensitive mask inspection, as required for double- and quadruple-patterning lithography technologies, while maintaining a very low false alarm rate.

Designed to emulate a scanner, the Aera4 system delivers superior first-time inspection success rate over other high-resolution inspection systems on advanced masks, including those with aggressive optical proximity correction, such as inverse lithography. Combined with its inherent automatic defect classification as printing or non-printing, the system allows mask makers to extend ArF technology to next-generation nodes.

In the fab, the Aera4 system expands mask inspection from early haze detection to complete 193nm exposure-degradation monitoring. In addition, IntenCD™ enables full-mask critical dimension uniformity mapping concurrent with inspection. Through these capabilities, the system promotes longer mask life time and reduces mask-related costs.