According to Nick Bright, vice president and general manager of Lam's Etch Products Group, "The overlap in 300 mm implementation and sub-100 nm process development is driving the industry need for integrated metrology solutions. These technology transitions represent the junctions where the high costs of 300 mm processes and the challenge of increasing the yield of high-performance devices begin to make integrating metrology cost effective.
"Yet, in order to provide an advantage to chip manufacturers, integrated metrology must include superior measurement capability, fab-wide recipe sharing, matching with stand-alone tools, and advanced process control software and expertise. KLA-Tencor has the experience as well as the market and technology leadership to meet these criteria and make integrated metrology a truly production-worthy solution for etch processing. With process equipment-neutral metrology systems installed in every fab, KLA-Tencor was the obvious choice for developing integrated metrology capabilities for our 2300 product family," Bright continued.
Officials from both companies agree that integrated metrology can enhance overall fab efficiency by eliminating the bottleneck of off-line metrology, reducing rework and cycle times, and minimizing the consumption of monitor wafers. It also enables engineers to implement feed-forward and feedback process control, using incoming or post-process measurements, respectively, so that any necessary process adjustments can be made immediately. During the gate etch process, for example, these advanced process control techniques can be used to quickly correct variations in gate length, which impact the speed and performance of devices.
"Semiconductor manufacturers face significant challenges and risks in bringing 300 mm and sub-100 nanometer processes into production," stated Dennis Fortino, executive vice president, Optical Surface Inspection and Measurement Group, at KLA-Tencor. "This includes maintaining parameters within ever-tightening process windows while keeping pace with accelerating product life cycles. In certain applications, such as etch, where CD and thin-film uniformity are critical to the success of the process, integrated process control can help chip manufacturers overcome these challenges."
"Lam has consistently been an industry leader for etch, offering advanced technologies and integrating new capabilities onto its systems over the years. Its foresight in recognizing the benefits of integrated metrology is the latest example of the company's continuing efforts to innovate and offer advanced capability in all of its product lines," Fortino concluded.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements which are subject to the Safe Harbor provisions created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements include those relating to process and machine performance, process developments, the challenges facing chip manufacturers, and the value of integrated metrology, among others. Such statements are based on current expectations and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and changes in condition, significance, value and effect including those risks detailed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which could cause actual results to vary from expectations. Neither Lam nor KLA-Tencor undertake any obligation to update the information in this press release.
Lam Research Corporation is a leading supplier of wafer fabrication equipment and services to the world's semiconductor industry. Lam's common stock trades on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol LRCX. The Company's World Wide Web address is http://www.lamrc.com.
KLA-Tencor is the world leader in yield management and process control solutions for semiconductor manufacturing and related industries. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the company has sales and service offices around the world. An S&P 500 company, KLA-Tencor is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol KLAC.