editor's blog
Subscribe Now

In-Situ Real-Time Process Checks

Yesterday we looked at number of different ways of inspecting wafers. Such inspections can be an important part of a process that turns out high yields of high-quality chips. They serve a couple of roles in this regard.

The most obvious is that you catch faulty material early. If rework is possible, you can then rework it; if not, well, you don’t throw good processing money after bad.

But the other reason is probably more important: by looking at wafers at various monitoring points, you get a sense of how the equipment is working. The wafer results act as a proxy for machine monitoring.

So… what if you could measure the machine directly?

That’s what CyberOptics is doing using an in-situ approach that they say is complementary to wafer inspection. They create “fake” wafers outfitted with sensors and feed them into the equipment. The equipment thinks they’re normal wafers and processes them; the sensors measure selected aspects of the setup and report back wirelessly in real time.

And they claim to be the only ones that have this real-time capability. They say other approaches require manual “timestamping” of data that’s downloaded and analyzed after the processing is over. The Bluetooth connection to a nearby rolling host computer allows the data to be transmitted as its captured.

They have setups for measuring air particles; for leveling; gap measurement (used with thin-film deposition, sputtering, etc.); vibration measurement; and a “teaching” system that improves alignment.

Most recently they’ve announced new air particulate measurement platforms: a reticle version, which replaces not the wafer but the reticle in a lithography tool, and a smaller wafer version – 150 mm (6”, roughly). That last one might seem odd, since they say they’ve already got a 450-mm version, and bigger ones usually come later. But in this case, they had to reduce the size of the sensing and electronics to fit the smaller form factor.

aps_-_combined.png

Images courtesy CyberOptics

You can read more in their announcement.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Apr 16, 2024
In today's semiconductor era, every minute, you always look for the opportunity to enhance your skills and learning growth and want to keep up to date with the technology. This could mean you would also like to get hold of the small concepts behind the complex chip desig...
Apr 11, 2024
See how Achronix used our physical verification tools to accelerate the SoC design and verification flow, boosting chip design productivity w/ cloud-based EDA.The post Achronix Achieves 5X Faster Physical Verification for Full SoC Within Budget with Synopsys Cloud appeared ...
Mar 30, 2024
Join me on a brief stream-of-consciousness tour to see what it's like to live inside (what I laughingly call) my mind...

featured video

MaxLinear Integrates Analog & Digital Design in One Chip with Cadence 3D Solvers

Sponsored by Cadence Design Systems

MaxLinear has the unique capability of integrating analog and digital design on the same chip. Because of this, the team developed some interesting technology in the communication space. In the optical infrastructure domain, they created the first fully integrated 5nm CMOS PAM4 DSP. All their products solve critical communication and high-frequency analysis challenges.

Learn more about how MaxLinear is using Cadence’s Clarity 3D Solver and EMX Planar 3D Solver in their design process.

featured chalk talk

Dependable Power Distribution: Supporting Fail Operational and Highly Available Systems
Sponsored by Infineon
Megatrends in automotive designs have heavily influenced the requirements needed for vehicle architectures and power distribution systems. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton and Robert Pizuti from Infineon investigate the trends and new use cases required for dependable power systems and how Infineon is advancing innovation in automotive designs with their EiceDRIVER and PROFET devices.
Dec 7, 2023
16,845 views