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Value-Added Metrology

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9 Author(s)
Bunday, B. ; SEMATECH Manuf. Initiative, Austin ; Allgair, J. ; Caldwell, M. ; Solecky, E.
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The conventional premise, long-touted among the semiconductor processing community, that metrology is a ldquonon-value-added necessary evil,rdquo is a misleading and dangerous assertion, which must be viewed as obsolete thinking. Many metrology applications are key enablers to traditionally labeled ldquovalue-addedrdquo processing steps in lithography and etch, such that they can be considered integral parts of the processes. Various key trends in modern, state-of-the-art processing such as optical proximity correction, design for manufacturability, and advanced process control are based, at their hearts, on the assumption of fine-tuned metrology, in terms of uncertainty and accuracy. These trends are vehicles where metrology thus has large opportunities to create value through the engineering of tight and targetable process distributions. Such distributions make possible predictability in speed-sorts and in other parameters, which results in a high-end product. Additionally, significant reliance has also been placed on defect metrology to predict, improve, and reduce yield variability. The necessary quality metrology is strongly influenced by not only the choice of equipment, but also the quality application of these tools in a production environment. The ultimate value added by metrology is a result of quality tools run by a quality metrology team using quality practices. This paper will explore the relationships among present and future trends and challenges in metrology, including equipment, key applications, and metrology deployment in the manufacturing flow. Of key importance are metrology personnel, with their expertise, practices, and metrics in achieving and maintaining the required level of metrology performance, including where precision, matching, and accuracy fit into these considerations. The value of metrology will be demonstrated to have shifted to being a ldquokey enabler of large revenues,rdquo debunking the out-of-date premise that metrology is ld- quonon-value-added.rdquo

Published in:

Semiconductor Manufacturing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 3 )