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A new paradigm for wafer inspection is being developed that would resolve many of today's pending wafer inspection issues. This paradigm integrates 1) a DRAM fabrication line simulation model, producing synthetic images of "typical" wafer maps and associated defects, to 2) fuzzy clustering/declustering algorithms that identify various defects and 3) a unique defect tracking mechanism to monitor patterns of defects across wafer maps. This approach holds promise for in-line process control by allowing for off-site analysis of fabrication line problems and unsupervised adaptation and optimization of application-specific inspection algorithms. The paper reports on the progress made towards the fulfilment of this paradigm.