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AMD SUCCESSFULLY UTILIZES CANARY ESD SERVICE FROM DUPONT PHOTOMASKS AND ION TO PROTECT PHOTOMASKS IN FAB 25.

DuPont Photomasks, Inc. (Nasdaq:DPMI) and Ion Systems have announced that Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE:AMD) successfully utilized the new Canary ESD Service developed by the two companies to qualify and mitigate electrostatic discharge (ESD) events on photomasks at its Fab 25 facility in Austin.

Using patent-pending photomask technology and processes created by DuPont Photomasks and Ion, the advanced ESD audit service is aimed at improving wafer yields by identifying and eliminating the sources of ESD in the photomask path. The Canary ESD Service became available in September 2000.

Photomasks are critical components in the semiconductor manufacturing process, and are used to pattern integrated circuits (ICs) on silicon wafers. Electrostatic discharge can cause degradation to the circuit patterns on photomasks, leading to device failure.

Product and yield loss resulting from ESD damage to photomasks costs the semiconductor industry millions of dollars annually. As semiconductor design rules continue to shrink, photomasks are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the harmful effects of ESD events. With smaller design geometry, damage can occur even without physical contact and at low levels of electrostatic exposure, causing greater wafer yield loss, process downtime and photomask replacement costs.

In October 2000, AMD signed on for the new service at its Fab 25 facility with the goal of reducing photomask loss due to ESD events to zero.

"By utilizing the Canary ESD Service, we are protecting our photomasks from the potentially devastating effects of ESD events. This should enable us to protect wafer yields and improve productivity, by reducing process downtime and replacement and repair costs associated with ESD-damaged photomasks," said Dan Sutton, senior member technical staff, AMD.

AMD is implementing several recommendations from the Canary ESD Service audit team as ways to reduce the likelihood of ESD events. These include modifying photomask-handling procedures and evaluating new materials that can help manage and dissipate static charge, the root cause of electrostatic energy. Additionally, the chipmaker is using the Canary ESD Service to identify ESD risk factors in new equipment.

"We are certainly receiving the benefits of the collaborative efforts of two industry leaders. DuPont Photomasks and Ion have developed a very thorough and scientific approach to stemming the effects of ESD, and we hope to reduce ESD events on photomasks to zero," commented Sutton. "Safeguarding our photomasks at Fab 25 has given us such peace of mind that we're planning to utilize the Canary ESD Service at our other fabs."

"A growing number of our customers believe that a factor in yield loss on wafers is due to the damaging effects that ESD events have on photomask patterns, especially as advanced photomask technologies are increasingly used," said Ken Rygler, executive vice president, Worldwide Marketing and Strategic Planning, DuPont Photomasks. "The combined expertise of DuPont Photomasks and Ion in photolithography and electrostatic energy management, respectively, makes for a powerful solution to ESD problems. We are pleased that AMD is discovering firsthand the potential that this service has in improving wafer yields."

"Electrostatic discharge is a costly industry issue that affects every member of the photolithography value chain. Our development of the Canary ESD Service with DuPont Photomasks and AMD's subsequent utilization are reflective of the kind of industry cooperation required to meet the growing complexity of the subwavelength era," said Scott Gehlke, president and chief executive officer, Ion.
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Comment:AMD SUCCESSFULLY UTILIZES CANARY ESD SERVICE FROM DUPONT PHOTOMASKS AND ION TO PROTECT PHOTOMASKS IN FAB 25.
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 30, 2001
Words:548
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