Enlight® 2 Optical Inspection

As semiconductor design and process complexity are increasing, fab costs are soaring. Among other things, rising costs make the classic tradeoff between minimizing CoO and optimizing strategic control points along the manufacturing sequence much more difficult, leading to stricter limitations on the number of inspection steps. In parallel, the extremely small feature sizes of leading-edge transistors make yield-killing defects nearly impossible to differentiate from noise, and small variances evolve into yield-killing defects when fabricating 3D structures and performing complex multi-patterning steps.

The Enlight® 2 brightfield optical inspection system is part of Applied’s approach to reinventing process control so that chipmakers can achieve the required inspection sensitivity, inspect more often, collect more data, accelerate yields, and lower the cost per wafer. The system combines industry-leading speed with high resolution and advanced optics that capture more data per scan. Its unique architecture features the highest numerical aperture in the market to achieve a high-resolution scan and unique 3D polarization control that suppresses wafer noise. It is also the only system with simultaneous brightfield and greyfield detection channels, enabling generation of high-quality Big Data in production.

New signal enhancement, noise suppression and throughput capabilities make the Enlight 2 a step function in performance over the Enlight system:

A novel deep learning detection engine with 16-bit imaging called SELFI enables detection and classification of more than 1 billion defect images and improves the defects of interest capture rate by up to 3X.

  • A new SideView module enables oblique illumination of the wafer surface, nearly doubling the sensitivity for three-dimensional defects.
  • A new light polarization module called GF Polaris provides 360° polarization control for greyfield detection, reducing wafer noise by 50%.
  • A new telescope improves system throughput by more than 40%, increasing capabilities to up to 27 wafers per hour.
  • A new hybrid CPU-GPU-DSP architecture delivers 4X greater CPU performance, 5X faster data storage and 2.5X the networking speed.

These improvements in processing speed and imaging sensitivity enable chipmakers to increase the number of inspection steps in fabrication while remaining within the CoO guidelines, and quickly perform accurate root cause determination.

Chipmakers tend to lower the sensitivity of inspection tools to minimize nuisance detection, but with the increased risk of missing critical defects.  To alleviate this challenge, Applied ExtractAI® uses Big Data to help customers rapidly create fully classified noise-free maps during in-line monitoring.  

The predictive capabilities of the Enlight 2 system combined with Applied’s 2nd generation ExtractAI™ technology provides a real-time intelligent link between brightfield optical wafer inspection and our industry-leading eBeam review system, SEMVision®.  This trio produces adaptive AI-based pattern recognition that can be harnessed by process engineers to produce actionable insights about yield killing defects or by chipmakers to lower cost of ownership, increase yield, accelerate node development, speed time to revenue and increase profits over the life of a node.


Applied’s Enlight optical inspection, ExtractAI technology, and SEMVision eBeam review together deliver the most actionable data at the fastest rate to accelerate time to market of new process nodes.