KLA-Tencor Patent Grants

Simultaneous multi-spot inspection and imaging

Granted: February 14, 2017
Patent Number: 9568435
A compact and versatile multi-spot inspection imaging system employs an objective for focusing an array of radiation beams to a surface and a second reflective or refractive objective having a large numerical aperture for collecting scattered radiation from the array of illuminated spots. The scattered radiation from each illuminated spot is focused to a corresponding optical fiber channel so that information about a scattering may be conveyed to a corresponding detector in a remote…

Automated image-based process monitoring and control

Granted: February 14, 2017
Patent Number: 9569834
Methods and devices are disclosed for automated detection of a status of wafer fabrication process based on images. The methods advantageously use segment masks to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio of the images. Metrics are then calculated for the segment mask variations in order to determine one or more combinations of segment masks and metrics that are predictive of a process non-compliance. A model can be generated as a result of the process. In another embodiment, a method uses a…

Particle suspensions used as low-contrast standards for inspection of liquids

Granted: February 7, 2017
Patent Number: 9562846
In certain embodiments, a method for validating the human visual inspection process or an optical analysis instrument for use with biological particles may include inspecting a standard particle solution using the optical analysis instrument. The standard particle solution may include a known concentration of standard particles suspended in solution with the standard particles having a defined size and shape distribution. The standard particles may have a refractive index that is…

Based sampling and binning for yield critical defects

Granted: February 7, 2017
Patent Number: 9563943
Methods and systems for design based sampling and binning for yield critical defects are provided. One method includes aligning each image patch in each inspection image frame generated for a wafer by an optical subsystem of an inspection system to design information for the wafer. The method also includes deriving multiple layer design attributes at locations of defects detected in the image patches. In addition, the method includes building a decision tree with the multiple layer…

Predicting and controlling critical dimension issues and pattern defectivity in wafers using interferometry

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9558545
Systems and methods for predicting and controlling pattern quality data (e.g., critical dimension and/or pattern defectivity) in patterned wafers using patterned wafer geometry (PWG) measurements are disclosed. Correlations between PWG measurements and pattern quality data measurements may be established, and the established correlations may be utilized to provide pattern quality data predictions for a given wafer based on geometry measurements obtained for the give wafer. The…

System and method for imaging a sample with a laser sustained plasma illumination output

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9558858
The inspection of a sample with VUV light from a laser sustained plasma includes generating pumping illumination including a first selected wavelength, or range of wavelength, containing a volume of gas suitable for plasma generation, generating broadband radiation including a second selected wavelength, or range of wavelengths, by forming a plasma within the volume of gas by focusing the pumping illumination into the volume of gas, illuminating a surface of a sample with the broadband…

Material handling with dedicated automated material handling system

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9558978
An apparatus includes a dedicated material handling module having a dedicated automated material handling system (AMHS) defines a transport route between a first tool and a second tool selected from a plurality of tools in a fabrication facility. The dedicated AMHS is configured to transport wafer carriers between the first tool and the second tool or vice versa independent of a fabrication facility AMHS that is configured to transport wafer carriers among the plurality of tools.

Metrology through use of feed forward feed sideways and measurement cell re-use

Granted: January 31, 2017
Patent Number: 9559019
Metrology may be implemented during semiconductor device fabrication by a) modeling a first measurement on a first test cell formed in a layer of a partially fabricated device; b) performing a second measurement on a second test cell in the layer; c) feeding information from the second measurement into the modeling of the first measurement; and after a lithography pattern has been formed on the layer including the first and second test cells, d) modeling a third and a fourth measurement…

Detecting defects on a wafer using defect-specific and multi-channel information

Granted: January 24, 2017
Patent Number: 9552636
Methods and systems for detecting defects on a wafer using defect-specific and multi-channel information are provided. One method includes acquiring information for a target on a wafer. The target includes a pattern of interest (POI) formed on the wafer and a known defect of interest (DOI) occurring proximate to or in the POI. The method also includes detecting the known DOI in target candidates by identifying potential DOI locations based on images of the target candidates acquired by a…

Semiconductor device models including re-usable sub-structures

Granted: January 24, 2017
Patent Number: 9553033
Methods and tools for generating measurement models of complex device structures based on re-useable, parametric models are presented. Metrology systems employing these models are configured to measure structural and material characteristics associated with different semiconductor fabrication processes. The re-useable, parametric sub-structure model is fully defined by a set of independent parameters entered by a user of the model building tool. All other variables associated with the…

Combined semiconductor metrology system

Granted: January 24, 2017
Patent Number: 9553034
A semiconductor wafer inspection system includes a camera and two or more illuminators. The illuminators illuminate a line of the semiconductor wafer in sequence and the camera captures an interleaved image of illuminated lines such that the individual images can be recovered from the interleaved image. The semiconductor wafer can be moved by a conveyor so that adjacent lines can be sequentially illuminated by the illuminators. The camera may include two or more line sensors.

Systems, methods and metrics for wafer high order shape characterization and wafer classification using wafer dimensional geometry tool

Granted: January 17, 2017
Patent Number: 9546862
Systems and methods for improving results of wafer higher order shape (HOS) characterization and wafer classification are disclosed. The systems and methods in accordance with the present disclosure are based on localized shapes. A wafer map is partitioned into a plurality of measurement sites to improve the completeness of wafer shape representation. Various site based HOS metric values may be calculated for wafer characterization and/or classification purposes, and may also be utilized…

Metrology target indentification, design and verification

Granted: January 17, 2017
Patent Number: 9546946
Metrology tools are provided, which comprise both active and passive vibration isolation devices, passive or active isolation systems such as constrained layer dampers, particle impact dampers or liquid impact dampers, and/or noise cancellation transducers, combined in different supporting structures of the metrology tool to dampen and reduce vibrations at a wide range of frequencies and intensities, and to which frequency range spectral analysis and optimization may be applied to…

Multi-spot scanning collection optics

Granted: January 17, 2017
Patent Number: 9546962
Disclosed are apparatus and methods for inspecting or measuring a specimen. A system comprises an illumination channel for generating and deflecting a plurality of incident beams to form a plurality of spots that scan across a segmented line comprised of a plurality of scan portions of the specimen. The system also includes one or more detection channels for sensing light emanating from a specimen in response to the incident beams directed towards such specimen and collecting a detected…

Film-growth model using level sets

Granted: January 17, 2017
Patent Number: 9547233
A technique for determining a set of surface profiles in a multilayer stack during a fabrication process may be determined using a model of this fabrication process, a geometry of the multilayer stack (such as a pre-defined geometry of the multilayer stack) and a surface profile in the multilayer stack (such as a measured surface profile of the top surface or a bottom surface of the multilayer stack). For example, the model of the fabrication process may be based on a generalized Eikonal…

Apparatus and methods for predicting wafer-level defect printability

Granted: January 17, 2017
Patent Number: 9547892
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for qualifying a photolithographic reticle. A reticle inspection tool is used to acquire images at different imaging configurations from each of the pattern areas of a calibration reticle. A reticle near field is recovered for each of the pattern areas of the calibration reticle based on the acquired images from each pattern area of the calibration reticle. Using the recovered reticle near field for the calibration reticle, a lithography model for…

Photomultiplier tube (PMT) having a reflective photocathode array

Granted: January 10, 2017
Patent Number: 9543130
An internal portion of a photomultiplier tube (PMT) having a reflective photocathode array, and a method for manufacturing the same, are provided. The internal portion of the PMT comprises the reflective photocathode array and at least one dynode structure corresponding to the array of reflective photocathodes. Each reflective photocathode receives light and from the light, generates photoelectrons which then travel towards the at least one dynode structure. Upon the photoelectrons…

System and method for generation of extreme ultraviolet light

Granted: January 10, 2017
Patent Number: 9544984
An EUV light source includes a rotatable, cylindrically-symmetric element having a surface coated with a plasma-forming target material, a drive laser source configured to generate one or more laser pulses sufficient to generate EUV light via formation of a plasma by excitation of the plasma-forming target material, a set of focusing optics configured to focus the one or more laser pulses onto the surface of the rotatable, cylindrically-symmetric element, a set of collection optics…

Method and apparatus to reduce thermal stress by regulation and control of lamp operating temperatures

Granted: January 3, 2017
Patent Number: 9534848
A fluid input manifold distributes injected fluid around the body of a bulb to cool the bulb below a threshold. The injected fluid also distributes heat more evenly along the surface of the bulb to reduce thermal stress. The fluid input manifold may comprise one or more airfoils to direct a substantially laminar fluid flow along the surface of the bulb or it may comprise a plurality of fluid injection nozzles oriented to produce a substantially laminar fluid flow. An output portion may…

Defect sampling for electron beam review based on defect attributes from optical inspection and optical review

Granted: January 3, 2017
Patent Number: 9535010
Various embodiments for generating a defect sample for electron beam review are provided. One method includes combining, on a defect-by-defect basis, one or more first attributes for defects determined by optical inspection of a wafer on which the defects were detected with one or more second attributes for the defects determined by optical review of the wafer thereby generating combined attributes for the defects. The method also includes separating the defects into bins based on the…