KLA-Tencor Patent Grants

Predictive wafer modeling based focus error prediction using correlations of wafers

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9707660
Predictive modeling based focus error prediction method and system are disclosed. The method includes obtaining wafer geometry measurements of a plurality of training wafers and grouping the plurality of training wafers to provide at least one training group based on relative homogeneity of wafer geometry measurements among the plurality of training wafers. For each particular training group of the at least one training group, a predictive model is develop utilizing non-linear predictive…

Apparatus and methods for measuring properties in a TSV structure using beam profile reflectometry

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9709386
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for measuring a characteristics of a through-silicon via (TSV) structure. A beam profile reflectivity (BPR) tool is used to move to a first xy position having a TSV structure. The BPR tool is then used to obtain an optimum focus of at the first xy position by adjusting the z position to a first optimum z position for obtaining measurements at the first xy position. Via the BPR tool, reflectivity measurements for a plurality of angles of incidence are…

Determining a configuration for an optical element positioned in a collection aperture during wafer inspection

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9709510
Methods and systems for determining a configuration for an optical element positioned in a collection aperture during wafer inspection are provided. One system includes a detector configured to detect light from a wafer that passes through an optical element, which includes a set of collection apertures, when the optical element has different configurations thereby generating different images for the different configurations. The system also includes a computer subsystem configured for…

System and method for separation of pump light and collected light in a laser pumped light source

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9709811
A system for separating plasma pumping light and collected broadband light includes a pump source configured to generate pumping illumination including at least a first wavelength, a gas containment element for containing a volume of gas, a collector configured to focus the pumping illumination from the pumping source into the volume of gas to generate a plasma within the volume of gas, wherein the plasma emits broadband radiation including at least a second wavelength and an…

Overlay target geometry for measuring multiple pitches

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9709903
An overlay target for use in imaging based metrology is disclosed. The overlay target includes a plurality of target structures including three or more target structures, each target structure including a set of two or more pattern elements, wherein the target structures are configured to provide metrology information pertaining to different pitches, different coverage ratios, and linearity. Pattern elements may be separated from adjacent pattern elements by non-uniform distance; pattern…

Image based signal response metrology

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9710728
Methods and systems for measuring overlay error between structures formed on a substrate by successive lithographic processes are presented herein. Two overlay targets, each having programmed offsets in opposite directions are employed to perform an overlay measurement. Overlay error is measured based on zero order scatterometry signals and scatterometry data is collected from each target at two different azimuth angles. In addition, methods and systems for creating an image-based…

System and method for detecting design and process defects on a wafer using process monitoring features

Granted: July 18, 2017
Patent Number: 9710903
Various systems and methods for detecting design and process defects on a wafer, reviewing defects on a wafer, selecting one or more features within a design for use as process monitoring features, or some combination thereof are provided. One system is configured to detect design defects and process defects at locations on a wafer at which images are acquired by an electron beam review subsystem based on defects in a design, additional defects in the design, which are detected by…

Apparatus for measuring overlay errors

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9702693
A metrology system for determining overlay is disclosed. The system includes an optical assembly for capturing images of an overlay mark and a computer for analyzing the captured images to determine whether there is an overlay error. The mark comprises first and second regions that each include at least two separately generated working zones, juxtaposed relative to one another, configured to provide overlay information in a first direction, and include a periodic structure having…

Optical mode analysis with design-based care areas

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9702827
Methods and systems for selecting one or more modes of an inspection subsystem or system for inspection of a specimen are provided. The systems described herein are configured to acquire output for all of the modes to be considered at a location of a known defect on the specimen by aligning output, which is generated at the location with a mode known to generate output in which patterned features on the specimen are resolved to a degree that allows the output to be aligned to design…

Systems and methods for wafer surface feature detection and quantification

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9702829
Interferometer systems and methods for providing improved defect detection and quantification are disclosed. The systems and methods in accordance with the present disclosure may detect surface defects on patterned or bare wafer surfaces and subsequently quantify them. In certain embodiments in accordance with the present disclosure, amplitude maps of the wafer surfaces are obtained and are utilized in addition/alternative to phase maps for wafer surface feature detection. Furthermore,…

System and method for reducing dynamic range in images of patterned regions of semiconductor wafers

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9703207
The present invention includes generating illumination, providing a spatial light modulator (SLM) configured to selectably illuminate one or more portions of a surface of a wafer using the generated illumination, receiving a sets of wafer pattern data indicative of one or more patterns of the wafer, translating the wafer along a direction, selectably controlling a pixel configuration of the SLM to control an illumination pattern on the surface of the wafer, a first pixel configuration…

Adaptive local threshold and color filtering

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9704234
Methods and systems for detecting defects on a wafer using adaptive local thresholding and color filtering are provided. One method includes determining local statistics of pixels in output for a wafer generated using an inspection system, determining which of the pixels are outliers based on the local statistics, and comparing the outliers to the pixels surrounding the outliers to identify the outliers that do not belong to a cluster of outliers as defect candidates. The method also…

Method for correcting position measurements for optical errors and method for determining mask writer errors

Granted: July 11, 2017
Patent Number: 9704238
A method for correcting optical errors occurring in coordinates of positions of a plurality of targets measured via an imaging system comprising a field of view. The plurality of targets includes a first array of targets and a second array of targets overlapping the first array of targets, and a portion of the plurality of targets are outside of the field of view. The method broadly includes the following steps: a) placing the first array of targets in the field of view of the imaging…

Apparatus and methods for determining defect depths in vertical stack memory

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: 9696264
Disclosed are methods and apparatus for inspecting a vertical semiconductor stack of a plurality of layers is disclosed. The method includes (a) on a confocal tool, repeatedly focusing an illumination beam at a plurality of focus planes at a plurality of different depths of a first vertical stack, wherein a defect is located at an unknown one of the different depths and the illumination beam has a wavelength range between about 700 nm and about 950 nm, (b) generating a plurality of…

Automated decision-based energy-dispersive x-ray methodology and apparatus

Granted: July 4, 2017
Patent Number: 9696268
One embodiment relates to a method for automated review of defects detected in a defective die on the target substrate. The method includes: performing an automated review of the defects using an secondary electron microscope (SEM) so as to obtain electron-beam images of the defects; performing an automated classification of the defects into types based on morphology of the defects as determined from the electron-beam images; selecting defects of a specific type for automated…

Multi-channel backside wafer inspection

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9689804
A system for inspecting a backside surface of a wafer with multi-channel focus control includes a set of inspection sub-systems including a first inspection sub-system positioned and an additional inspection sub-system. The first and additional inspection sub-systems include an optical assembly, an actuation assembly, where the optical assembly is disposed on the actuation assembly, and a positional sensor configured to sense a position characteristic between a portion of the optical…

Adaptive electrical testing of wafers

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9689923
A method and a system for determining one or more parameters for electrical testing of a wafer are provided. One method includes determining electrical test paths through a device being formed on a wafer and physical layout components in different layers of the device corresponding to each of the electrical test paths. The method also includes determining one or more parameters of electrical testing for the wafer based on one or more characteristics of the electrical test paths. In…

Linear Stage for reflective electron beam lithography

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9690213
A linear stacked stage suitable for REBL may include a first upper fast stage configured to translate a first plurality of wafers in a first direction along a first axis, the first upper fast stage configured to secure a first plurality of wafers; a second upper fast stage configured to translate a second plurality of wafers in a second direction along the first axis, the second upper fast stage configured to secure the second plurality of wafers, the second direction opposite to the…

High brightness liquid droplet X-ray source for semiconductor metrology

Granted: June 27, 2017
Patent Number: 9693439
Methods and systems for realizing a high brightness liquid metal droplet based x-ray source suitable for high throughput x-ray metrology are presented herein. A high power laser bombards a solid target material to generate liquid metal droplets. The laser generated liquid metal droplets are excited with a focused, high power excitation beam such as an electron or laser beam. The excitation beam is synchronized with the stream of liquid metal droplets stimulated by the high power laser to…

Target element types for process parameter metrology

Granted: June 13, 2017
Patent Number: 9678421
Metrology targets, target design methods and metrology methods are provided. Metrology targets comprise target elements belonging to two or more target element types. Each target element type comprises unresolved features which offset specified production parameters to a specified extent and thus provide sensitivity monitoring and optimization tools for process parameters such as focus and dose.