Nikon Metrology / News / US News / Nikon's New WES-3000 Wafer Edge Inspection Tool Offers High-Throughput, In-Line Inspection With High-Resolution

Nikon's New WES-3000 Wafer Edge Inspection Tool Offers High-Throughput, In-Line Inspection With High-Resolution

July 15, 2008

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 15, 2008 -- Nikon Instruments Inc. (http://www.nikoninstruments.com/) announced its new WES-3000 Wafer Edge Inspection Tool, designed to identify defects often experienced with immersion lithography as well as other IC manufacturing processes. The WES-3000 incorporates high-throughput, in-line inspection with a review station featuring high-resolution and clear-color images for fast assessment of unknown defects.

Wafer edge chips have long been serious defects that can result in wafer breakage, even before immersion technology was commonly used. Today, as immersion technology has become the only driver for 55nm node lithography, the issue has become even more complex. Edge debris, resist residue and water bubbles can all delaminate film at the wafer edge, potentially causing lithography process defects. Conventional tools often have difficultly identifying defects that have been detected in the wafers, which must then be reviewed on different equipment. However, the WES-3000 can quickly inspect and identify defects as immersion lithography is being conducted.

"Wafer edge inspection has become more focused than ever as companies look to enhance yield, while still ensuring quality product," said Mike Metzger, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, Nikon Instruments. "The WES-3000 addresses both issues, providing superior images of potential defects as the immersion inspection is happening."

The WES-3000 has the ability to review the wafer edge area based on the KLARF file input. KLARF converts the coordinates from the wafer inspection tool to wafer edge coordinates to help users understand the relationship between near edge defects and edge defects. Additionally, the WES-3000 features a newly developed illumination system that lights up the wafer edge surfaces to more easily identify defects. Topcoat film boundary position at bevel can also be precisely measured through an Apex camera at the wafer edge.

Sales of the WES-3000 will begin in the fourth quarter of 2008.

ABOUT NIKON INSTRUMENTS INC.

Nikon Instruments Inc. is a world leader in the development and manufacture of optical and digital imaging technology for biomedical and industrial applications. Now in its 90th year, Nikon provides complete optical systems that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Cutting-edge instruments include microscopes, precision measuring equipment, digital imaging products and software. Nikon Instruments is the microscopy and digital imaging arm of Nikon Inc., the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology. For more information, visit http://www.nikoninstruments.com/. Product-related inquiries may be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON.

CONTACT: Nicole Mudloff of Peppercom for Nikon Instruments,
+1-212-931-6168, nmudloff@peppercom.com

###