Today at Semicon West, Nearfield Instruments launched Lightning Mode™, a new feature for QUADRA®, the semiconductor industry’s highest-throughput, in-line atomic force microscopy (AFM) metrology system for advanced semiconductor devices.

QUADRA, combined with the new Lightning Mode, boosts productivity with a more than 160-fold increase in image acquisition speed when benchmarked against existing state-of-the-art automated AFM systems. The extremely high throughput of QUADRA, along with its superior accuracy, enables customers non-destructively to determine lot-to-lot, wafer-to-wafer and intra-wafer process variations in full 3D with very high wafer and lot coverage.

QUADRA, with its groundbreaking multi-miniaturized AFM head architecture, enables on-device, non-destructive three-dimensional (3D) metrology and is now fully qualified and deployed for high-volume manufacturing (HVM) at the industry’s leading fabs. QUADRA accelerates time-to-yield and HVM yield optimization and control in memory (VNAND, DRAM, HBM) and logic processes, including high-aspect-ratio structures and (high-NA) EUV resist structures as well as hybrid bonding applications.

“Hybrid bonding is a critical technology to support the future demands for computational power, which is driving more chip stacking and increased data transmission; more efficient energy consumption in multi-chip systems is a key. Hybrid bonding plays a crucial role in artificial intelligence (AI) chip systems, both in 3D packaging and new-generation high-bandwidth memory (HBM) manufacturing. However, it comes with additional complexity to 3D packaging and chiplets, increasing the importance of angstrom-level, non-destructive metrology with the capability of not only die-to-die, but also pad-to-pad metrology, which has historically demonstrated limited throughput over the more conventional techniques like AFM,” said Hamed Sadeghian, CEO, Nearfield Instruments.

“QUADRA is transforming semiconductor production metrology, and especially now with our new Lightning Mode – the only metrology system capable of providing highly accurate, in-line, non-destructive 3D measurements with extremely high throughput on advanced technology nodes. It is validated and qualified for all device and package types in the fab. QUADRA, especially with its new Lightning Mode that provides the fastest imaging speed of any in-line AFM metrology system in the world, supporting massive metrology needs.”

QUADRA is available for ordering now and the Lightning Mode feature will be available in August 2024.