3-D Resolution for Nanoscale Semiconductor Manufacturing

Recent orders for an automated atomic force microscope (AFM) confirms the early acceptance of the technology by Japanese and US semiconductor manufacturers.

Veeco Instruments shipped the first Dimension X3D system in the third quarter of this year. The other two systems are scheduled to ship to Japan in the first quarter of 2003. Introduced earlier this year, the Dimension X3D is the first nondestructive in-line metrology tool to provide 3D resolution for semiconductor manufacturing.

With the Dimension X3D, users can take three-dimensional (x, y and z) in-line measurements of nanometer-scale critical dimensions (CD), such as shallow trench isolation structures on wafers and optical proximity correction features in photomasks. The gauge-capable tool produces highly repeatable results, enabling exceptional process control in advanced technology nodes.

"Our customers' newest volume process lines will incorporate a broad range of new materials, as well as next-generation lithography", noted Don Kania, Ph.D., President of Veeco Metrology.

"This trend is driving the significant interest we're now seeing in three-dimensional AFM," stated Kania. "By combining the benefits of nondestructive AFM metrology with 3D resolution, the X3D gives our customers a clear advantage when it comes to achieving dimensional control of lithography and etch processes in wafer and photomask manufacturing."

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