Patents Assigned to KLA-Tencor Corporation
  • Patent number: 10600175
    Abstract: Systems and methods of a two-pass inspection methodology that dynamically creates micro care areas for inspection of repeater defects. Micro care areas can be formed around each location of a repeater defect. After inspection, additional repeater defects in the micro care areas can be identified. Attributes of the repeater defects can be compared and any repeater defects with attributes that deviate from an expected group attribute distribution can be classified as nuisance.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Bjorn Brauer, Benjamin Murray, Shishir Suman, Lisheng Gao
  • Patent number: 10600177
    Abstract: Methods and systems are disclosed that provide nuisance reduction in images, such as semiconductor images that include one or more metal lines. A potential defect is correlated against pixel grey level intensity charts for two perpendicular axes. A position of the potential defect relative to a pattern, such as a metal line, is determined along the two axes. The potential defect can be classified as a defect of interest or nuisance event.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 29, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Bjorn Brauer, Junqing Huang, Lisheng Gao
  • Patent number: 10599944
    Abstract: The disclosure is directed to providing visual feedback for inspection algorithms and difference filters used to process test and reference images from an inspection system. A user interface may be configured for displaying information and accepting user commands. A computing system communicatively coupled to the user interface may be configured to receive at least one set of test and reference images collected by the inspection system. The computing system may be further configured to provide at least one visual representation of the test and reference images via the user interface to show effects of an inspection algorithm and/or difference filter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 27, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Hucheng Lee, Junqing Huang, Lisheng Gao
  • Patent number: 10598477
    Abstract: Metal film thickness can be determined using the sheet resistance, resistivity, and temperature coefficient of resistivity for the metal film. Variation in film thickness measurements caused by resistivity can be reduced or eliminated. A probe head may be used for some of the measurements of the metal film. The probe head can include a temperature sensor used during sheet resistance measurements. A wafer on a chuck is heated, such as using the chuck or the probe head, for the measurements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 1, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Xianghua Liu, Walter Johnson, Jianli Cui, Lu Yu, Nanchang Zhu, Juli Cheng, Huanglin Li, Liming Liu
  • Patent number: 10598617
    Abstract: Information from metrology tools can be used during inspection or review with a scanning electron microscope. Metrology measurements of a wafer are interpolated and/or extrapolated over a field, which creates modified metrology data. The modified metrology data is associated with defect attributes from inspection measurements of a wafer. A wafer review sampling plan is generated based on the defect attributes and the modified metrology data. The wafer review sampling plan can be used during review of a wafer using the scanning electron microscope.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2017
    Date of Patent: March 24, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Kaushik Sah, Andrew James Cross, Antonio Mani
  • Patent number: 10591406
    Abstract: Metrology methods, systems and targets are provided, which implement a side by side paradigm. Adjacent cells with periodic structures are used to extract the overlay error, e.g., by introducing controllable phase shifts or image shifts which enable algorithmic computation of the overlay. The periodic structures are designed to exhibit a rotational symmetry to support the computation and reduce errors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 6, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 17, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Barak Bringoltz, Daniel Kandel, Yoel Feler, Noam Sapiens, Paykin Irina, Alexander Svizher, Meir Aloni, Guy Ben Dov, Hadar Shalmoni, Vladimir Levinski
  • Patent number: 10585049
    Abstract: A system includes a controller with one or more processors and memory configured to store one or more sets of program instructions. The one or more processors are configured to execute the one or more sets of program instructions. The one or more sets of program instructions are configured to cause the one or more processors to apply filtering to a semiconductor wafer map; separate the filtered semiconductor wafer map into a plurality of dies; generate a set of die comparison statistics for the plurality of dies; generate at least one excursion map by applying at least one inspection threshold to the set of die comparison statistics; and detect at least one excursion within the at least one excursion map.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 12, 2019
    Date of Patent: March 10, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Helen (Heng) Liu, Aye Aung, GuoQing Zhang
  • Patent number: 10579768
    Abstract: Metrology targets and target design methods are provided, in which target elements are defined by replacing elements from a periodic pattern having a pitch p, by assist elements having at least one geometric difference from the replaced elements, to form a composite periodic structure that maintains the pitch p as a single pitch. Constructing targets within the bounds of compatibility with advanced multiple patterning techniques improves the fidelity of the targets and fill factor modulation enables adjustment of the targets to produce sufficient metrology sensitivity for extracting the overlay while achieving process compatibility of the targets.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Vladimir Levinski, Eitan Hajaj, Tal Itzkovich, Sharon Aharon, Michael E. Adel, Yuri Paskover, Daria Negri, Yuval Lubashevsky, Amnon Manassen, Myungjun Lee, Mark D. Smith
  • Patent number: 10576603
    Abstract: Wafer geometry measurement tools and methods for providing improved wafer geometry measurements are disclosed. Wafer front side, backside and flatness measurements are taken into consideration for semiconductor process control. The measurement tools and methods in accordance with embodiments of the present disclosure are suitable for handling any types of wafers, including patterned wafers, without the shortcomings of conventional metrology systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 24, 2014
    Date of Patent: March 3, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Pradeep Vukkadala, Jaydeep Sinha
  • Patent number: 10572991
    Abstract: A method may include, but is not limited to, receiving a plurality of reference images of a wafer. The method may include, but is not limited to, receiving the plurality of test images of the wafer. The method may include, but is not limited to, aligning the plurality of reference images and the plurality of test images via a coarse alignment process. The method may include, but is not limited to, aligning the plurality of reference images and the plurality of test images via a fine alignment process after alignment via the coarse alignment process. The fine alignment process may include measuring individual offsets and correcting individual offset data between at least one of the plurality of reference images and the plurality of test images.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 11, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Hong Chen, Michael Cook, Pavan Kumar, Kenong Wu
  • Patent number: 10571248
    Abstract: A system includes one or more wafer geometry measurement tools configured to obtain geometry measurements from a wafer. The system also includes one or more processors in communication with the one or more wafer geometry measurement tools. The one or more processors are configured to apply a correction model to correct the geometry measurements obtained by the one or more wafer geometry measurement tools. The correction model is configured to correct measurement errors caused by a transparent film positioned on the wafer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 13, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Helen Liu, Andrew Zeng
  • Patent number: 10571811
    Abstract: Metrology methods and targets are provided, that expand metrological procedures beyond current technologies into multi-layered targets, quasi-periodic targets and device-like targets, without having to introduce offsets along the critical direction of the device design. Several models are disclosed for deriving metrology data such as overlays from multi-layered target and corresponding configurations of targets are provided to enable such measurements. Quasi-periodic targets which are based on device patterns are shown to improve the similarity between target and device designs, and the filling of the surroundings of targets and target elements with patterns which are based on device patterns improve process compatibility. Offsets are introduced only in non-critical direction and/or sensitivity is calibrated to enable, together with the solutions for multi-layer measurements and quasi-periodic target measurements, direct device optical metrology measurements.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 19, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Eran Amit, Daniel Kandel, Dror Alumot, Amit Shaked, Liran Yerushalmi
  • Patent number: 10571379
    Abstract: A mechanical testing system having a frame, and a stage for holding a sample. An arm for pressing a tool against a surface of the sample. A primary actuator is connected to the frame and applies a primary force and drives the tool relative to the sample, thereby causing the frame to flex. A displacement sensor measures a displacement value comprised of two components, the first component including a distance traveled by the probe into the sample as the primary force is applied, and the second component including a measure of a degree of flex of the frame as the primary force is applied. A compensating actuator is connected to the frame and applies a compensating force that reduces the second component of the displacement value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 25, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Warren C Oliver, Sudharshan P Pardhasaradhi, Michael P Drake
  • Patent number: 10563973
    Abstract: A system is configured to perform metrology on a front surface, a back surface opposite the front surface, and/or an edge between the front surface and the back surface of a wafer. This can provide all wafer metrology and/or metrology of thin films on the back surface of the wafer. In an example, the thickness and/or optical properties of a thin film on a back surface of a wafer can be determined using a ratio of a greyscale image of a bright field light emerging from the back surface of the wafer under test to that of a reference wafer.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 2016
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Shifang Li, Lena Nicolaides, Paul Horn, Richard Graetz
  • Patent number: 10568195
    Abstract: A system for generating pump illumination for laser sustained plasma (LSP) is disclosed. In embodiments, the system includes an illumination source configured to output illumination having a first spectral frequency and an optical frequency converter. The optical frequency converter can be configured to receive the illumination having the first spectral frequency from the illumination source and configured to output pump illumination having a second spectral frequency that is different from the first spectral frequency.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 1, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Ilya Bezel, Anatoly Shchemelinin, Matthew Derstine
  • Patent number: 10565697
    Abstract: Systems and methods are provided, which calculate overlay misregistration error estimations from analyzed measurements of each ROI (region of interest) in at least one metrology imaging target, and incorporate the calculated overlay misregistration error estimations in a corresponding estimation of overlay misregistration. Disclosed embodiments provide a graduated and weighted analysis of target quality which may be integrated in a continuous manner into the metrology measurement processes, and moreover evaluates target quality in terms of overlay misregistration, which forms a common basis for evaluation of errors from different sources, such as characteristics of production steps, measurement parameters and target characteristics.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 22, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 18, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Tzahi Grunzweig, Nadav Gutman, David Gready, Mark Ghinovker, Vladimir Levinski, Claire E. Staniunas, Nimrod Shuall, Yuri Paskover
  • Patent number: 10558123
    Abstract: An electron source is formed on a silicon substrate having opposing first and second surfaces. At least one field emitter is prepared on the second surface of the silicon substrate to enhance the emission of electrons. To prevent oxidation of the silicon, a thin, contiguous boron layer is disposed directly on the output surface of the field emitter using a process that minimizes oxidation and defects. The field emitter can take various shapes such as pyramids and rounded whiskers. One or several optional gate layers may be placed at or slightly lower than the height of the field emitter tip in order to achieve fast and accurate control of the emission current and high emission currents. The field emitter can be p-type doped and configured to operate in a reverse bias mode or the field emitter can be n-type doped.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 15, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 11, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Yung-Ho Alex Chuang, Yinying Xiao-Li, Xuefeng Liu, John Fielden
  • Patent number: 10557802
    Abstract: Repeater analysis at a first threshold identifies repeater defects. The repeater defects are located at a coordinate that is the same on each reticle. Images on every reticle of the semiconductor wafer at the coordinate are received, and a plurality of signed difference images are obtained. A repeater threshold for signed difference images is calculated, as is consistency of the polarity. The threshold is applied to the images and a number of defects per each repeater that remain are determined. A secondary repeater threshold can be applied for nuisance filtering.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 13, 2018
    Date of Patent: February 11, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventors: Bjorn Brauer, Hucheng Lee
  • Patent number: 10551320
    Abstract: Methods and systems for detecting a particle defect on a wafer surface, transforming the particle to a spectroscopically active state, and identifying a material composition of the activated particle by a spectroscopic technique are described herein. Particle defects are transformed by chemical treatment, thermal treatment, photochemical treatment, or a combination thereof, such that an activated particle exhibits atomic vibrational bands that can be observed spectroscopically. In one embodiment, a surface inspection system detects the presence of a particle defect on a wafer surface, activates observable Raman bands in one or more of the detected particles, and identifies the material composition of the activated particle by a spectroscopic technique.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 30, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 4, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventor: Kurt L. Haller
  • Patent number: 10551827
    Abstract: An inspection system includes a controller communicatively coupled to a physical inspection device (PID), a virtual inspection device (VID) configured to analyze stored PID data, and a defect verification device (DVD). The controller may receive a pattern layout of a sample including multiple patterns fabricated with selected lithography configurations defining a process window, receive locations of PID-identified defects identified through analysis of the sample with the PID, wherein the PID-identified defects are verified by the DVD, remove one or more lithography configurations associated with the locations of the PID-identified defects from the process window, iteratively refine the process window by removing one or more lithography configurations associated with VID-identified defects identified through analysis of selected portions of stored PID data with the VID, and provide, as an output, the process window when a selected end condition is met.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 2017
    Date of Patent: February 4, 2020
    Assignee: KLA-Tencor Corporation
    Inventor: Brian Duffy