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core Technology

Recent developments in nano-science and –technology (a.o. semiconductor, nanoelectronics, energy, life science, quantum technology) have shown the tremendous increased need for metrology and testing solutions. Nearfield Instruments brings its ground-breaking metrology solutions by intensive R&D activities on its core technologies and in a very close collaboration with its customers.

the core technology focus of  nearfield instruments

Understanding of how waves (electromagnetic and mechanical) interact with matter at nano-scale

This is crucial for bringing new solutions for the process control metrology of the current and next-generation challenging devices of semiconductor industry, to ensure and provide high throughput, non-destructiveness and atom-scale precision.

Transfer this understanding to an instrument, via mechatronics architecting and optics expertise

  1. Developing revolutionary optomechatronics equipment concepts;
  2. Advance control and data processing, to make the instruments smart

Close relation and link with customers for application

  1. focus our research to solve specific pains of market: applications (mid and long term)
  2. show the applicability of the developed technology for use cases already in early phases

Advance Imaging Mode for In-line 3D High Aspect Ratio Critical Dimension Metrology

Nearfield Instruments continuously conducts R&D (in collaboration with its research partners) to develop advanced imaging and spectroscopy modes for challenging 3D devices in Memory and Logic.

An example is the newly developed Feedforward Trajectory Planner (FFTP) imaging mode which has enabled on-device, non-destructive measurements for in-line process monitoring of GAA FETs at 3nm and beyond.

Development of advance mechatronics concept to further enhance  Precision and Stability at sub-nanometer level

Development of advance mechatronics concept to further enhance Precision and Stability at sub-nanometer level

Nearfield Instruments researches and develops mechatronics architectures, equipped with advanced control and data processing to be at the forefront of industry-best measurement precision and reproducibility.

Combining novel mechatronics concepts and advanced motion control techniques, Nearfield Instruments has developed high-speed long and short range positioning stages with sub-Angstrom noise and precision. An example is its 6-DOF Metro-frame & 6-DOF active vibration isolation.

In all AFM systems so far, reaction forces of the wafer scanning stage are exerted on the measurement head. These reaction forces introduce considerable errors in the measurement, which are neglected as the scanning speeds are so low that the measurement can wait for settling and damping of the vibrations.

To achieve industry-level precision at high throughput, Nearfield Instruments has developed 6-DOF metro-and force frames that measure and correct the errors generated due to reaction forces exerted by the acceleration of the wafer scanning stage. This equipped with a 6-DOF Active vibration isolation system, creating an extremely silent world for the scan heads and wafer scanning stage, which is essential for high-precision measurement.

speed and  productivity

Nearfield Instruments continuously develops technologies to bring the highest wafer throughput of any AFM or SPM available today in the semiconductor industry. The very high measurement speed is achieved by revolutionizing the architecture of Scanning Probe microscopy (SPM), while miniaturizing them to operate many of them in parallel.

The very high bandwidth of the vertical scanning stage (patented) of each miniaturized SPM is dynamically decoupled from the rest of the scan head frame which has a much lower resonance frequency. With the measurement only being limited by the bandwidth of the vertical stage, in a customer defined use case, QUADRA has shown a factor of 40 improvement in imaging acquisition time when benchmarked to existing state-of-the-art AFM systems.

The unique architecture of multi-head MiniSPMs and being positioned extremely fast and accurate in parallel, set a new record in 3D SPM metrology Move-Acquire-Measure time. This enables high sampling rate for determination of lot to lot, wafer to wafer, and within wafer process variation.

Unlock the automation and productivity potential by  revolutionary fast and accurate Automatic probe exchange and alignment

Nearfield Instruments has developed several key technologies resulting in an unrivaled probe exchange system that enables all probe exchange, optical detector alignment and calibration to take place in less than 6 seconds while maintaining ultimate accuracy and reliability.