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Metara Drives New Advances in Inline Chemical Metrology.

Company's SENTRY Technology Represents Breakthrough Solution for Process Chemistry Analysis and Control

SUNNYVALE, Calif., June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Metara Inc., a pioneer and technology leader in the emerging inline chemical metrology arena, today launched the SENTRY platform-the semiconductor industry's first production- worthy, automated, inline chemical metrology solution designed for real-time, non-invasive characterization of the process chemistries used to manufacture today's most advanced devices. Representing a radical departure from conventional offline, intermittent analysis techniques, the SENTRY platform delivers a powerful new metrology engine that continuously monitors the composition of critical chemistries used in advanced processes, such as copper electroplating, and detects yield-or-process-limiting contaminants. The technology brings to the process control space a critical new tool that optimizes results in key manufacturing steps and dramatically increases overall chemical process efficiency.

The SENTRY platform forms the foundation of Metara's two products: the SENTRY Chemical Composition Metrology (CCM) system to monitor bath integrity for advanced copper electroplating and cobalt processes, and the SENTRY Trace Contamination Metrology (TCM) system to maintain process bath purity by identifying and quantifying metallics and organic contaminants. Both tools are already establishing a strong foothold in multiple North American and Asian fabs, with original equipment manufacturers also turning to the technology for its productivity and yield advantages.

"Today's SENTRY roll-out marks an exciting technology breakthrough in what is arguably the last uncharted yield territory in the fab," said Metara Vice President of Sales and Marketing Randy Clegg. "In today's stringent manufacturing environment, the proactive management of complex process chemistries is being seriously challenged by the limits of offline, inconsistent chemical monitoring solutions. In fact, such solutions are now posing an unacceptable yield risk. Metara's new products are designed to remove the risk by replacing the old offline, intermittent approach with a streamlined, automated inline method that brings continuity, accuracy and precision to the measurement and monitoring of complex chemistries. We're glad to be leading the drive to deliver a production-worthy system that promises to increase production yields, enable advanced processes and help reduce overall manufacturing costs."

Managing Process Chemistry Yield in the Sub-130nm Regime

Until recently, the monitoring of wet processes was confined to manual, offline measurement techniques, such as inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, or indirect methods, such as after-the-fact physical and electrical measurements on test wafers. These methods are operator-intensive, invasive and inherently unreliable. In addition, they are only sensitive to certain problematic species. Moreover, with smaller geometries and new materials driving tighter tolerances, even minute changes in bath chemistry can lead to catastrophic yield losses. This threat is forcing chipmakers to seek alternative and proactive chemistry-management solutions that provide continuous analysis so that contaminants can be quickly flagged and classified before product wafers are placed at risk.

Inline Chemical Metrology: Bringing the Power of the Lab to the Fab

Metara's SENTRY platform addresses this threat with a fundamentally new approach. By bringing powerful lab analysis techniques directly to the fab floor, the company's technology enables chipmakers to continuously monitor the composition of their critical process chemistries in real time. At the core of the SENTRY platform is Metara's proprietary Inline Mass Spectrometry (ILMS) technology, featuring an innovative electrospray time-of-flight mass spectrometer. This core engine has the ability to perform the sensitive, high-resolution measurements of anions and cations required for accurate process control and contamination detection. It is a proactive, rather than reactive, method that speedily determines the root cause and severity of a problem and allows for prompt corrective action before yield is threatened. The ILMS technology engine is supported by a sophisticated software platform that includes a patented data-analysis engine for spectral analysis and quantitation.

SENTRY CCM: New Advances in Process Integrity Technology

The SENTRY CCM deploys this powerful ILMS technology to maintain bath integrity by tackling the chemical composition challenges that threaten the efficacy of copper electroplating and cobalt processes. These include: bath mismanagement, fill reproducibility issues, mounding and overburden problems, and wafer-to-wafer consistency. The CCM provides fully automated, 24x7, direct quantitation of the inorganic matrices, organic additives and organic additive breakdown products present in the bath chemistry. Complete measurement routines are available every 30 minutes, with real-time trending of analysis results. Rapid detection of out-of-spec chemistries and the overall control of breakdown products combine to make the SENTRY CCM a compelling new yield-enhancement tool in today's sophisticated fab.

SENTRY TCM: New Advances in Bath Purity Technology

The SENTRY TCM also deploys the ILMS technology to maintain bath purity by identifying and quantifying metallics and organic contamination and protect against potential yield-killing contamination issues. The TCM has the ability to measure eight samples per hour at the parts-per-trillion (ppt) level in UPW, DHF, IPA, SC-1, H2O2, NH4OH, SC-2, HF, HCL, H2SO4 and other commonly used process solutions. The fully automated 24x7, real-time measurement of these contaminants enables pre-emptive monitoring of critical bath chemistries, allowing the TCM to flag potential issues before they become real yield killers. Additional features include simultaneous measurement of up to five different chemistry baths, with each measurement including in-situ calibration.

To learn more about Metara's Inline Chemical Metrology solutions, visit the company during SEMICON West 2005, July 12-14, in The Great Room 2 at San Francisco's W Hotel.

Metara Inc. -- a pioneer and technology leader in the emerging inline chemical metrology arena -- is focused on helping the global semiconductor industry monitor and control chemical processes. The company's breakthrough technology enables chipmakers to continuously monitor the composition of their critical process chemistries real time, so that they can a) optimize process results in critical steps, such as copper plating; and b) detect and prevent contamination that can result in process defects and yield loss. More information about the company is available at http://www.metarainc.com/

CONTACT: Randy Clegg, VP, Sales & Marketing of Metara Inc., +1-408-523-0950, or fax, +1-408-523-0945, or rclegg@metarainc.com; or Jane Evans-Ryan, Director, Emerging Technologies Division of MCA Public Relations, +1-650-968-8900, or fax, +1-650-968-8990, or jryan@mcapr.com

Web site: http://www.metarainc.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 13, 2005
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