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Today KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ: KLAC) announced the installation of its first process control systems capable of handling and inspecting 450mm wafers: a new configuration of the market-leading Surfscan® SP3 platform called the Surfscan SP3 450. Fully automated, these unpatterned wafer inspection systems are designed to meet the demanding defect and surface quality characterization requirements of the 20nm node and beyond, enabling control of the manufacturing process for 450mm polished silicon and epitaxial silicon substrates. The Surfscan SP3 450 also delivers critical capability for manufacturers of 450mm process equipment, such as wet clean tools, CMP pads, slurries and polishers, film deposition tools and annealing systems.
"Optimization of wafer quality and cleaning performance are important first steps toward demonstrating the potential economic benefits of the wafer size migration," said Hans Lebon, fab manager at imec, a leading nanoelectronics research center in Leuven, Belgium. "Wafer manufacturers need to deliver substrates with pristine surfaces to meet chipmakers' tight specifications. Equipment manufacturers need to ensure that they are not adding defects; that cleaning processes are effective; and that film quality is carefully controlled over a larger wafer area. The new Surfscan SP3 450 inspection system will help imec characterize the defectivity and surface quality of the wafer, map film thickness and roughness uniformity, and even identify annealing issues. We feel that it's a critical enabling tool for the transition to 450mm."
"Whether their wafers are 300mm or 450mm in diameter, our customers will need the performance that the Surfscan SP3 can deliver at the 20nm node and beyond," said Ali Salehpour, senior vice president and general manager of the Surfscan / ADE division at KLA-Tencor. "The SP3 remains the only unpatterned inspection platform in the industry to use sensitivity-enabling deep ultra-violet (DUV) illumination, and it is the only tool of its kind with the ability to generate high-resolution maps of surface quality. Another advantage of the 450mm version of the Surfscan SP3 is that the performance and reliability of its optics and algorithms have already been proven on the more than fifty 300mm SP3's installed at advanced development and production sites around the world. Confidence in their inspection platform will allow our customers to focus their engineering efforts on advanced technology development."
Multiple orders have been received for Surfscan SP3 450 systems, from a range of leading-edge integrated circuit, substrate and process equipment manufacturers and a nanoelectronics research center. Several of these systems have already been shipped. The Surfscan SP3 is also available in a 300mm-only version and a 300mm/450mm bridge configuration. SP3 models are designed to match among themselves and correlate to previous-generation Surfscan SP2 and SP2XP systems, preserving the factory's baseline and offering flexibility for routing work in progress.
For more information on KLA-Tencor's Surfscan SP3 unpatterned wafer inspection systems, please visit the product web pages at www.kla-tencor.com/front-end-defect-inspection/surfscan-series.html.
About KLA-Tencor Corporation
KLA-Tencor Corporation, a leading provider of process control and yield management solutions, partners with customers around the world to develop state-of-the-art inspection and metrology technologies. These technologies serve the semiconductor, data storage, LED, photovoltaic, and other related nanoelectronics industries. With a portfolio of industry-standard products and a team of world-class engineers and scientists, the company has created superior solutions for its customers for more than 35 years. Headquartered in Milpitas, Calif., KLA-Tencor has dedicated customer operations and service centers around the world. Additional information may be found at www.kla-tencor.com (KLAC-P).
Forward Looking Statements:
Statements in this press release other than historical facts, such as statements regarding Surfscan SP3's expected performance, the performance and reliability of the SP3 450's optics and algorithms, trends in the semiconductor industry and the anticipated challenges associated with them, expected uses of the Surfscan platform by KLA-Tencor's customers, expected extendibility of the Surfscan platform to accommodate new functionality, the ability of SP3 models to match among themselves and correlate to previous-generation systems, and the anticipated cost, operational and other benefits realizable by users of the Surfscan tools, are forward-looking statements, and are subject to the Safe Harbor provisions created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current information and expectations, and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in such statements due to various factors, including delays in the adoption of new technologies (whether due to cost or performance issues or otherwise), the introduction of competing products by other companies or unanticipated technological challenges or limitations that affect the implementation, performance or use of KLA-Tencor's products.
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