As the Advanced Process Control (APC) replaces statistical process control in traditional semiconductor manufacturing with superior precision and accuracy, companies today stand in need of dedicated processing and metrology solutions to provide dynamic fine-tuning of the intermediate process and facilitate integration and control. However, it is imperative that the metrology and process control solutions combine ease and speed of development while also remaining stable under the control of the semiconductor manufacturing process. As a pioneer in integrated metrology for APC and a key player in the semiconductor industry with a wide spectrum of metrology products, addressing this need is right up Nova’s alley.
Deployed by the world’s largest integrated-circuit manufacturers, Nova’s products deliver innovative metrology solutions for effective process control throughout the semiconductor fabrication lifecycle. The uniqueness of the firm’s metrology and process control solutions stems from combining dimensional and material metrology solutions to offer unique software modeling. The company takes a holistic, multi-faceted approach to metrology that enables extracting fine shape parameters used to achieve the desired level of process control in the fabrication of advanced devices. Nova integrates the metrology solutions and process tools, with its clients’ manufacturing infrastructure to offer high sampling rates. In partnership with ReVera, Nova has procured the ability to measure ultra-thin films and material composition based on X-Ray technology powering its portfolio. “We collaborate with numerous prospects, companies, and institutes within the semiconductor industry to discover and engineer unique technology for metrology and process control solutions in a harsh, controlled environment,” adds Nova’s Corporate, VP Marketing and Business Development, Zohar Gil.
The ongoing trend of device scaling presents an elevated level of complexities in transitioning from a planar transistor to high aspect ratio transistors, FinFET, and 3-D NANDs. Organizations in the semiconductor manufacturing space have already begun investigating nanosheets—a two-dimensional nanostructure—in order to overcome the long-standing impediments of dimensional elements such as scaling and shrinking of a line. In the recent years, the industry has seen an increase in the application of material metrology by numerous semiconductor companies to measure film thickness and analyze material composition. This is what Nova aims to streamline.
Nova’s integrated and standalone version of dimensional metrology allows the clients to measure critical dimensions inclusive of multiple parameters in a complex 3-D structure. On utilizing material metrology to measure film thickness and composition, the firm’s experienced team leverages modeling based software solutions to connect the fleet for data management. Nova seizes the opportunity to incorporate big data analytics and machine learning to establish a strong connection with the fleet, and extract more information. To further boost its arsenal, Nova formulates technological and product strategies and invests heavily in its R&D to develop new and innovative technologies to benefit the semiconductor manufacturing landscape.
Currently earning about $222 million in revenue with 18 offices across the globe, the firm maintains a healthy collaboration with process tool manufacturers, and other metrology companies to explore countless possibilities of transforming XPS, an X-Ray metrology used as a laboratory tool, into an in-line, high-volume manufacturing tool. With successful leading-edge publications under its belt, Nova strongly believes in the transition from Learning Action Performance (LAP) to Situation Action Performance (SAP). The firm strives to utilize the true potential of big data and machine learning models, and expand its offerings by combining material and dimensional metrology in a non-standardized way. “We do this in a non-standardized way where we employ the typical nature of the model to determine the measurements of a structure, its behavior, how it looks like and the physical interaction of X-Ray or optics with the structure,” explains Gil. Nova’s R&D team is working to create a machine learning model that harnesses mathematical power combined with the detailed understanding of the device, to offer superior metrology and process control solutions.