Applied Materials Acquires E-Beam Inspection Technology

Nov. 26, 2001
Applied Materials has acquired the assets of Schlumberger's electron-beam wafer inspection business. Included in the acquisition is Schlumberger's Odyssey 300 system, which uses proprietary electron beam technology to identify elusive, yield-killing defects in advanced semiconductor devices

Applied Materials, Inc. has acquired the assets of Schlumberger's electron-beam wafer inspection business for an undisclosed cash amount. Included in the acquisition is Schlumberger's Odyssey 300 system, which uses proprietary electron beam technology to identify elusive, yield-killing defects in advanced semiconductor devices. The Odyssey adds to Applied Materials' portfolio of wafer inspection and review systems used for manufacturing leading-edge chips.

"We believe the Odyssey system's strong imaging technology will provide our customers with a distinct advantage over competitive e-beam inspection technologies," said Dr. Sass Somekh, executive vice-president and member of the Office of the President of Applied Materials. "This acquisition enhances our Total Solutions approach to providing customers with the capabilities needed to increase fab yield and productivity. And by combining the Odyssey system with Applied Materials' existing line of inspection and review tools and defect reduction techniques, we can offer customers a more powerful and comprehensive methodical defect reduction program."

Using proprietary e-beam voltage contrast technology, the Odyssey 300 system detects both surface and sub-surface defects (electrical, particle and pattern) such as voids in copper interconnect structures. The Odyssey complements the capabilities provided by optical inspection methods, offering chipmakers significant yield improvement technology that is extendible to well beyond the 100nm device generation.

"The Odyssey system is already being used by several leading semiconductor manufacturers and will be fully supported by our Process Diagnostics and Control division," added Gilad Almogy, vice-president and general manager of Applied Materials' PDC division. "We are very excited about the opportunity to take inspection to the next level and plan to continue development of this technology, along with our existing systems, to meet the challenges of future chip generations."

The Odyssey's e-beam technology fully complements Applied Materials' line of optical inspection systems, which includes the Compass and Excite optical defect detection products, as well as the industry-standard SEMVision defect review scanning electron microscope (SEM), which can rapidly sort and classify defects by their size, shape or material composition. These systems, together with Applied Materials' unique software techniques, such as its DSI (Defect Source Identifier), provide customers with a comprehensive solution for in-line defect monitoring and yield management during chip production.

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LFW Staff

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