Skip to Main Content
In the semiconductor manufacturing industry, market demands and technology trends drive manufacturers towards increases in wafer size and decreases in device size. Application of factory-wide advanced process control (APC) techniques down to the wafer-to-wafer (W2W) level control capability is becoming the only choice to cope with the demanding situation. However, one of the main limitations in undertaking W2W control is the nonavailability of timely metrology data at the wafer level. Recently virtual metrology (VM) techniques have been proposed to provide timely wafer level metrology data; they have the potential to be used in realizing W2W control. In this paper, the VM approach to W2W control on factory level is described. VM for an individual process is realized by utilizing the preprocess metrology and the process data from the underlying tools that is generally collected in real time for fault detection purposes. The VM implementation for factory-wide run-to-run control brings unique opportunities and issues to the forefront such as dealing with expected lower quality of VM data, coordination between VM modules of cascading processes for better prediction quality, flexibility of the factory-wide controller to accommodate lower quality VM data, dynamic adjustments to the target values of individual processes by the factory-wide controller when using VM data, and dealing with metrology delays at the factory level. Near and long-term solutions are presented to address these issues in order to allow VM to be used today and become an integral part of the factory-wide APC solution for W2W control.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2007