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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Nikon Instruments Announces the P3: A Precision Pattern Profiler Optimizing Total Lithography Performance

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via PRNewswire

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Nikon Instruments, Inc., a world leader in the development of advanced optical technology, today announced a new lithography inspection platform designed improve product yield by capturing yield-limiting defects.

Nikon's Precision Pattern Profiler (P3) reduces time to detection, time to correction, time to results, and ultimately, time to market. As design rules and process windows continue to shrink, IC manufacturers face many challenges in achieving and maintaining yields and profitability while moving to new processes. The challenges have become more difficult because fabs must capture a wider range of problems on patterned wafers -- physical defects, electrical defects, and even macro defects, which can ruin an entire wafer rather than just a die.

"Nikon's new P3 allows our customers' to save time and money while optimizing valuable resources," said Glen Cooley , sales manager, Nikon Instruments. "The P3 integrates early warning functionality into a single process tool and solves many of the problems associated with traditional lithography inspection."

The P3 is designed to determine optimum focus and exposure control, and to measure and analyze line width roughness for the 55nm node and beyond. The product has achieved a worldwide first with the successful development of an innovative pattern edge roughness (PER) optical system which provides pattern profile control considered indispensable for the 55 nm fab process. The P3 is very accurate with sensitivity in the 5 to 10nm range and allows users to bypass many of their SEM, Brightfield and manual inspection steps.

Accurate lithography inspection and analysis have become critical to process control as shrinking design rules and new technologies make cost-effective IC manufacturing more difficult to achieve. Nikon's P3 includes an automated macro defect inspection capability to detect particles, scratches and coating errors and rapidly identifies many common lithography manufacturing defects.

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