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FAQs

The highest defect or feature resolution is detection limit/Abbe resolution? Imaging at high resolution is core to all Nanotronics products. In 1873 Earnest Abbe defined the Abbe limit resolution equation. The nSPEC® system uses optical microscopy and with standard methods can detect defects in the size range of 250 nanometers depending on illumination mode. We also have computational microscopy methods in which we can detect and classify defects beyond the limits of traditional optical microscopy. The nSPEC® system offers and optional lens AFM that can provide topography and measurement in the single nanometer range using non-optical methods.

The standard wafer handling configuration can handle 2 to 8 inch wafers. A fully automated 300mm AOI system is also available. We can also build automated handling equipment for non-wafer applications.

The standard nSPEC® includes Brightfield, Darkfield, and DIC imaging modes by default. An advantage of the system utilizing standard microscope components, nSPEC® can accommodate various filters for fluorescence or pair other imaging modes with standard brightfield. nSPEC® also supports an optional transmitted light source.

Our optical 3D topography measurement has a maximum resolution of 0.200 µm for x,y axis resolution and around 70nm for z-axis resolution. We also offer an optional lens AFM head with 1.7 nm x,y axis resolution and 0.34 nm for z-axis resolution.

The standard system uses a white light LED However, we can also configure a system with transmitted, ultra bright LED, near UV or a specified wavelength, or halogen light sources.

Yes, our standard sample chuck can accommodate diced wafers hoop rings. We can also accommodate gel packs, masks, broken pieces, etc. The system is very flexible and we can customize sample chucks and fixtures to accommodate various needs.

We have experience scanning semiconductor, ceramic, polymeric, and transparent samples.

The standard nSPEC® can accommodate 200mm x 200mm. We also offer a 300mm systems and can create a custom solution for needs beyond 300mm.

Yes, our Nanotronics Aautomation can work to design a solution that will accommodate unique samples.

The AI analyzer works by the user “training” the AI software to recognize and classify what is a defect. The analyzer then uses the trained pipeline to analyze subsequent samples. Our AI architecture is specifically tuned for speed and high-quality inference from sparse data sets. All aspects of the application have been engineered to utilize the parallel power of modern GPUs.

We use various types of image processing techniques based on application and need. Our techniques range from basic thresholding, to computer vision, to golden template based approach, to Artificial intelligence. Depending on the use-case, we may combine more than one technique. We help our customers to understand yield and enable them to assign causality in order to quickly inform the manufacturing process and adjust process control.

Yes, the surface roughness can be calculated with the topographic data.Our customers have found good correlation to a standard refrence targets. This case study does a nice job summarizing.

We have a few ways to create a 3D topography. Based on the application, we may use a method similar to focus stacking or we may use a very fast method similar to Photometric Stereo in which we acquire images at multiple light vectors and reconstruct to create a 3D topography. If sub-micron resolution is required, we have an optional AFM that may make contact with the surface of the sample.

We image the sample and compare the pattern to a nominal pattern. Any significant deviations are flagged as defect.

Yes, our system can import and export in KLARF format, and specifically we can review defects based on an inputted KLARF file.

We can export to csv, KLARF, and xml formats.

We do not currently have a software package designed specifically for CD measurements, but our standard analysis tools can make some measurements. (we may want to mentioned this is in development and is expected to be complete by end of 2017Our critical dimension software features are currently in development and will be deployed at customer sites in Q4 2017.

The scan time is dependent upon the objective strengthrequired resolution and the sample size. For example 100% of Aa 100mm sample can be scanned in 6 minutes with defect detection down to 1um.

Yes, our system is flexible and can be adapted to accommodate various filters and light sources.

Yes, we have a transmitted light configuration.

Yes, our system does have SECS/GEM compatibility.

Yes, our software team can work with your engineers to accommodate messaging between nSPEC® and various MES applications.

Yes, multiple systems communicate. One of our customers uses 12 systems that all work seamlessly together to inspect at various steps of the manufacturing process.

Yes, we do offer NIST calibration standards upon request. Our standard system includes a calibration standard for pixel calibration.

One of the many benefits of the nSPEC® is its small footprint. The standard system including an automated wafer handler is a tabletop system. The exact dimensions of the system can be found here [footprint document]

The system does not require an isolation table, but it is recommended in order to reduce any vibration which may become apparent at higher resolutions. The standard fully automated system includes an TMC 63-561 isolation table

Included along with the system are two days of training with engineers and operators. However, no special skill is required to operate the instrument or interpret results.

Another advantage of the nSPEC® is its versatility. The system can be utilized as a lab tool for R&D, a production tool, or both.

The system uses a Nomarski prism for DIC illumination.

The system can classify defects such as pits, scratches, cracks, edge defects, and particles just to name a few. The flexibility of the analyzers gives the user the freedom to tune defect parameters to capture a plethora of defects/features. The software also includes a device inspection method that builds a template of an ideal device and then utilizes computer vision to flag defective devices. Additionally, using the AI analyzer allows the user to train the software to recognize any type of defect/feature of interest.

The system has the capability to automatically focus, either in predefined locations across a substrate, or prior to every single image capture. Nanotronics’autofocus method is a contrast based algorithm, allowing it function across a variety of substrates, even completely transparent or very reflective materials.

The system can automatically set the light intensity as part of a user-defined ‘recipe,’ or it can be manually set by an operator prior to image capture.

Five standard objectives can be installed on the system, as well as an AFM. Our standard system comes equipped with four a single (5x objective, which is our most verstiale and most frequently used objective.

The camera is 5.7 megapixels with a typical pixel size of 4.54 microns and a frame rate of 17.4 fps.

Yes, the system can be equipped with a color camera as an option, although all analysis of images is done in greyscale.

The field of view is 2752 x 2200 pixels. A typical field of view, detecting defects 1um and above is around 2.5mm x 2mm

Our standard system uses LED white light illumination in brightfield, darkfield, and differential interference contrast (DIC). We offer optional upgrades for transmitted light, ultra bright LED, UV, or halogen light sources. The system uses Olympus brightfield/darkfield objectives.

Yes, the system’s flexibility and illumination set up allows for inspection of transparent samples such as glass and optics.

Yes, again due to the flexibility of the system, fabrics and materials can be inspected.

Our usual engagement with a potential customer consists of a process review, in which the customer’s needs, requirements, and current inspection challenges are relayed to the Nanotronics solutions team. The solutions team then receives a typical customer sample for testing and relays the results and capabilities of the system to the customer.

A new recipe can be set up in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.

Yes, the system has OCR capabilities and is incorporated with our automatic handler We offer an option top read, bottom read or both.

Yes, our system has the ability to capture macro level defects and analyze them in seconds and is incorporated with our automated handler

Yes, our standard system handler is designed for wafers, but our automation team can easily design a custom handler to work with different substrates.

Yes, our hardware can accommodate edge exclusion and can be specified or adjusted by the user.

Yes, the system allows an operator to use a barcode reader to scan sample ID.

Yes, the software can analyze images from a different system such as SEM. We like to think of our software as hardware agnostic. The ability to analyze images captured from another system is yet another advantage to the nSPEC® system.

The nSPEC® has a one year warranty from time of purchase. Additionally, customers can purchase various service contracts with differing degrees of service/maintenance included.

Yes, we do customize software to meet the needs of individual customers or applications. During the course of a customer interaction, we will offer a customer a customized solution that fits their needs and requirements if our standard system cannot.

Yes, a customer can request a new feature or hardware modification at any time during our interaction. The Nanotronics Automation team has designed many modifications for our current customers.

Yes, we are continuously updating our software. Our software updates can be installed remotely, if permitted. If remote access is prohibited, a member of our technical services team can install the update on site.

Yes, we can demo the system remotely, or host in our Brooklyn, Bay Area, or Los Angeles offices.

Yes, the standard system comes with a Digital Storm power PC with modern GPU computing capabilities.

Yes, the system can be installed on workstations. The software can be installed on computers just for analysis and does not have to be connected to an nSPEC®.