Nanometrics Incorporated, a leading provider of advanced process control systems, today announced the launch of Atlas® III, its latest flagship system for optical critical dimension (OCD) and thin film process control. Working in close collaboration with its launch partner, the company recently delivered multiple Atlas III systems to enable manufacturing of next-generation advanced memory devices. Additional Atlas III systems will be delivered to other leading customers in the second quarter of 2016 for advanced 7nm/5nm foundry, 1X DRAM and third-generation 3D-NAND process development.
The Atlas III delivers improvements in metrology capability and cost of ownership, and can further increase productivity and accelerate yield when combined as part of a unified fleet with Nanometrics' industry-leading NanoDiffract® OCD software and IMPULSE® integrated metrology solutions. The Atlas III incorporates a proprietary combination of spectroscopic reflectometry and spectroscopic ellipsometry solutions that enable precise control of every critical process step, providing yield-relevant insight into complex structure profiles across etch, clean, deposition and chemical mechanical polish (CMP) steps. The Atlas III extends the company's track record of offering the industry's leading common platform for both OCD and thin film measurements, enabling flexibility for customers in deployment and ramp to reduce cost of ownership, while providing consistent metrology performance for next-generation device process control.
Continued device scaling, use of novel materials and processes, and the emergence of high-aspect-ratio device architectures, such as those found in advanced logic, DRAM and 3D-NAND devices, all place increasing demands on process equipment and control, driving the need for better precision and accuracy. Additionally, tighter process tolerances are requiring more complex metrology including direct in-die SRAM measurements, as well as across complex arrays in memory devices. By extending metrology performance to sub-angstrom precision and accuracy levels, the Atlas III system enables advanced process control (APC) across a broad range of applications in high-volume manufacturing.
"The Atlas III system architecture of combined measurement technology and proprietary analysis algorithms provides the broadest range of semiconductor fab application metrology solutions and the richest data set, enabling the most complex measurements," commented Dr. Srini Vedula, vice president of OCD/Thin Film Solutions at Nanometrics. "The new system significantly extends the capability of our industry-leading Mueller Matrix-based spectroscopic ellipsometry and spectroscopic reflectometry solution. Combined with the latest advancements in our NanoDiffract software, the Atlas III will be utilized at the most demanding front-end-of-line applications in transistor formation, storage capacitor, and 3D-NAND tier stack applications to accelerate information cycles in development, enabling APC on critical layers to improve yield of these new technologies, all while reducing cost of ownership with high productivity."
Since its initial launch in 2004, multiple generations of the Atlas system have been deployed across every fab segment for advanced logic, DRAM, 3D-NAND, advanced non-volatile memory, CMOS image sensor and power device manufacturing.