SEMATECH, Metrosol Team on Gate Stack Research at UAlbany NanoCollege

SEMATECH, a global consortium of chipmakers, and Metrosol, Inc., a leading developer, manufacturer and worldwide supplier of short wavelength optical metrology solutions, announced that Metrosol has joined SEMATECH’s Front End Process Technologies Program at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. The joint partnership will expand on current collaborative efforts to develop suitable inline metrology techniques to monitor the thickness and composition of various films in high-k dielectric gate and memory stacks.

As a member of this program, Metrosol will collaborate with experts in SEMATECH’s Front End Processes (FEP) and Metrology divisions to develop and demonstrate an inline vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopic reflectometry (VUV-SR)-based platform that will provide the accurate characterization necessary for inline metrology of advanced logic and memory applications for future technology generations.

“Metrosol is positioned to make significant contributions to the development and production of advanced dielectrics for both logic and memory technologies,” said Kevin Fahey, Metrosol’s CEO. “Our VUV-SR technology offers the ability to simultaneously measure thicknesses and compositions of individual layers within the high-k dielectric stacks. Our high throughput provides advanced inline process control capability that allows for greater statistical sampling, more accurate information, and faster problem resolution.”

“We are pleased to welcome Metrosol to the ever-expanding roster of leading industry partners engaged in cutting-edge nanoelectronics research and development at the UAlbany NanoCollege,” said Richard Brilla, vice president for strategy, alliances and consortia at CNSE. “This new collaboration will enhance the world-class metrology and characterization capabilities at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech, further demonstrating the success of the SEMATECH-CNSE partnership in accelerating nanoscale innovations, supporting pioneering education and fostering high-tech economic growth, all of which underscore New York’s recognition as a global leader in nanotechnology.”

Specifically, SEMATECH and Metrosol plan to build optical models for interfacial layers, high-k and metal gate films, and dielectric capping layers, so that reliable thickness and composition measurements may be performed inline using Metrosol’s VUV-SR technology for different logic- and memory-based applications.

“This is another major step in developing practical and inline advanced physical characterization methods to support emerging technologies currently under development in SEMATECH’s Front End Processes program,” said Raj Jammy, SEMATECH vice president of emerging technology. “Metrosol is a strong, trusted partner, and its VUV measurement technology complements our own technical expertise, as we work together to extend CMOS logic and memory technologies.”

Capable of handling multiple metrology modules on a single platform, Metrosol’s VUV system provides flexibility and throughput. The platform’s modular architecture and small footprint delivers high throughput inline measurement capabilities, even for advanced applications such as high N, SiON and HfO2 high-k dielectrics.

In 2007, Metrosol and SEMATECH demonstrated inline optical metrology for high-k dielectric composition, thickness, and ultra-thin interfacial layer thickness. The results, jointly presented at the 4th International Symposium on Advanced Gate Stack Technology, were obtained using Metrosol’s VUV-SR metrology system and transistors manufactured with SEMATECH’s HfSiOx gate technology. Rapid adoption of gate stack and memory dielectrics technology and of its use in high volume manufacturing requires suitable inline metrology techniques to monitor the thickness and composition of the various films in the dielectric stack.

The goal of SEMATECH’s Front End Process Technologies Program at the UAlbany NanoCollege is to provide novel leading-edge materials, process, structural modules and electrical and physical characterization solutions to support the continued scaling of logic and memory applications.

About Metrosol
Metrosol, Inc., a developer, manufacturer and worldwide supplier of short wavelength optical metrology solutions, delivers advanced thin-film measurement systems that solve the needs of next-generation semiconductor manufacturing. The company brings a unique and required capability to market for the semiconductor industry and continues to grow its patent portfolio. Its shortwave optical metrology technology offers the only commercially available platform capable of collecting reflectance data in the vacuum ultraviolet wavelength region down to 120 nm. This technology can help semiconductor manufacturers significantly reduce yield loss by detecting process excursions on product wafers. Based in Austin, Texas, Metrosol is a cohesive team of top-level scientists, sales/marketing personnel and executives with extensive experience in the semiconductor and other high-technology industries. Metrosol is a privately-held company.

About CNSE
The UAlbany CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to research, development, education, and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience, and nanoeconomics. In May 2007, it was ranked as the world’s number one college for nanotechnology and microtechnology in the Annual College Ranking by Small Times magazine. CNSE’s Albany NanoTech complex is the most advanced research enterprise of its kind at any university in the world: a $4.5 billion, 450,000-square-foot complex that attracts corporate partners from around the world and offers students a one-of-a-kind academic experience. The UAlbany NanoCollege houses the only fully-integrated, 300mm wafer, computer chip pilot prototyping and demonstration line within 65,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms. More than 2,000 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, and faculty work on site at CNSE’s Albany NanoTech complex, from companies including IBM, AMD, SEMATECH, Toshiba, ASML, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, Vistec Lithography and Freescale. An expansion currently underway will increase the size of CNSE’s Albany NanoTech complex to over 800,000 square feet, including over 80,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanroom space, to house over 2,500 scientists, researchers, engineers, students, and faculty by mid-2009.

For 20 years, SEMATECH® has set global direction, enabled flexible collaboration, and bridged strategic R&D to manufacturing. Today, we continue accelerating the next technology revolution with our nanoelectronics and emerging technology partners.