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Science that is transforming lives and enabling the future
Migration from 2D to 3D structures for high-density memory devices changes the nature of etching and deposition processes, especially as the number of layers for 3D NAND integration grows to 96 and beyond, and new process chemistries become commonplace. The greater number of lengthy processing steps and high aspect ratio (HAR) features involved place new demands on all steps of the chip manufacturing process, including etching, deposition, and cleaning equipment. Consistent process stability becomes harder to achieve.
Most equipment and process engineers become experts at analyzing a wafer map to quickly identify signatures indicating when their equipment or process was the perpetrator of a maverick yield event. But as defect signatures become more subtle and harder to quickly identify, there is a significant need to consider not just what in-line inspection systems are identifying, but specifically what they are not identifying.
Much as a bolt of lightning can strike in one spot and travel, creating a path of destruction in its wake, a single electrostatic discharge can have a similar effect on a semiconductor manufacturer’s bottom line. For advanced-node manufacturers, the risk posed by electrostatic discharge has become amplified by the move to fluoropolymers, a consequence of stainless-steel process tool components failing to meet increased purity requirements.