SensArray's Wireless Metrology Wafer Improves Process Control

SANTA CLARA, Calif. /BUSINESS WIRE/ -- SensArray Corp., a leading provider of wafer-level process metrology used for monitoring and control of critical semiconductor manufacturing processes, announced the introduction of Integral Wafer. This new product enables device makers and equipment OEMs the ability to conveniently collect in situ process information never before available for certain critical, harsh environment process applications. Integral Wafer is available now and has already been delivered to leading-edge semiconductor manufacturers and semiconductor equipment OEMs.

As device manufacturers march toward production implementation of the 65 nm process node, their process tools require better process control and metrology. While wireless wafer-based metrology has provided successful relief for some process applications, many aggressive process steps, such as high-powered dielectric etch or chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) are still lacking cost-effective, production-compatible solutions.

Dr. Mei Sun, SensArray's vice president of sensor engineering, explains that "previous wafer-based metrology systems had application-specific limitations due to their inherent design; the sensors and data analysis unit in the wafer were protected with encapsulant materials protruding over the wafer surface, causing an uneven profile. Our breakthrough architecture removes this limitation by embedding an ultra-thin sensor network and power supply within the silicon wafer substrate in such a way that then a thin protective cover can be laminated to the substrate wafer, forming a planar outer wafer surface on both sides."

Integral Wafer is an innovative progression from SensArray's award-winning Integrated Wafer wireless platform. Constructed as a laminated wafer, the ultra-thin, RF-shielded electronics, sensors, and battery cells are recessed in a silicon substrate and capped with a protective cover.

This configurable, customer-selectable top layer, or cover, constructed of semiconductor-grade materials shields the embedded network from the processing environment and eliminates the possibility of contamination while enabling in situ process measurements for many applications previously immeasurable.

The "zero height profile" architecture eliminates any prior equip-fit issues and provides a flat measuring surface. Product engineers, conducting state-of-the-art process applications, such as CMP or immersion lithography, now have access to process measurement insight.

Integral Wafer is compatible with existing OEM plasma-etch equipment and is currently available for plasma-etch applications, including high-power dielectric etch. Additional applications under field-testing include CMP, wet chemical etch/clean, spin rinse, implant, and immersion lithography.

Available in both 200 mm and 300 mm wafer sizes, Integral Wafer uses SensArray's existing Thermal Map software application for data display and analysis and the BaseStation and CarrierStation for production deployment and storage. A 300 mm Integral Wafer includes 65 sensors to measure temperature in a rich spatial format and is capable of high-accuracy measurements across a wide operating range of 20°C to 130°C.

About SensArray
SensArray is the leading supplier of substrate-based process metrology solutions for the semiconductor, flat-panel display, and photomask manufacturing industries. SensArray's broad range of products acquire, display, and use actual process-response data to monitor, control, diagnose, and optimize numerous production steps. Applications for this technology span all areas of manufacturing and processing environments, ranging from sub-zero probe/test to high-temperature oxidation and CVD to corrosive, harsh wet chemical and plasma etch-process steps. Based in Santa Clara, Calif., SensArray is privately held and ISO 9001-2000 certified with additional offices in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. For more information about SensArray and its products, please visit its Web site.