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n&k Announces New Trench Measurement System for Dual Damascene Applications; 3300TMSX Measures Via and Trench Depth Using Innovative Hybrid RCWA Software.

Business Editors/High-Tech Writers

SANTA CLARA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 10, 2003

n&k Technology, Inc., a manufacturer of proven, production-worthy process diagnostic tools for reliable, accurate, and precise thin film characterization, today announced its new 3300TMSX Trench Measurement System for Dual Damascene applications. This system, based on n&k's 3000TMS trench measurement system, incorporates technologically innovative hybrid Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis (RCWA) software to measure both via and trench depth. The tool effectively tracks across-wafer trench depth variation providing users with critical uniformity information. Additionally, the system can simultaneously determine barrier and seed layer thicknesses for films less than approximately 1000 angstroms.

The 3300TMSX is capable of measuring a wider range of structures than other optical metrology systems. The hybrid RCWA software enables measurement of trenches with pitches less than 0.5 micron, as well as trenches with pitches greater than 1.0 micron. Furthermore, the tool can determine the depth and profile of trenches with pitches less than 1.0 micron.

"The n&k 3300TMSX meets the needs of advanced IC manufacturers utilizing dual damascene technology. Quick and accurate measurement of the unique 'trench-within-a-trench' structures using n&k non-contact method enables users to effectively implement and maintain their leading-edge processes," states Dr. Rahim Forouhi, President and CEO of n&k Technology. "The 3300TMSX measures all of the critical parameters associated with the dual damascene process, providing a single metrology method to expedite the complex manufacturing process," he added.

The 3300TMSX makes real-time, non-destructive measurements of trench and via parameters. Across-wafer measurements are made in a minute on product features. Broadband reflectometry is used to produce spectrophotometric information over a wide range of wavelengths, from deep UV to near IR, with a high signal-to-noise ratio over the entire range. The reflectance data is analyzed using the Forouhi-Bloomer dispersion equations (the n&k method) and a hybrid Rigorous Coupled Wave Analysis (RCWA) technique to determine the optical properties and thicknesses of the films, and the trench parameters.

Geometric structures in a device wafer cause distinct features in the measured spectrum, distinguishing the sample from one having uniform film structure. Variations in the geometry, such as changes in trench depth, can be tracked through changes in these features. The 3300TMSX is very sensitive to small changes in sample conditions. This capability is employed, for example, to monitor drift in etch processes. The effect of the critical trench depth parameter on the measure spectra is isolated from changes in other parameters enabling tracking of the trench depth.

The 3300TMSX has demonstrated equivalent or better results than the traditional SEM, AFM and profilometric methods with the additional benefit of being non-contact, non-destructive. Results of via and trench measurements have been shown to be highly repeatable. Multiple 3000TMS systems, the pioneer n&k trench measurement system, are installed globally at sites in the USA, Japan, China, and Germany.

About n&k Technology, Inc.

n&k Technology is a manufacturer of proven, production-worthy process diagnostic tools for reliable, accurate, and precise thin film characterization as well as trench and critical dimension measurements, serving a variety of industries including semiconductor, photo mask, flat panel display, and data storage. The company's cost-effective, easy-to-use systems, ranging from table-top models to fully automated 300mm production tools, deliver "the true measure" with superior resolution, enabling users to characterize virtually any combination of thin films, substrates, and structures. n&k's products are also ideally suited for challenging integrated metrology applications. More information about n&k Technology can be found on the Internet at www.nandk.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 10, 2003
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