We were lucky to sit down with Dr. Shay Wolfling, CTO and Zohar Gil, Chief Marketing and Business Develop Officer at Nova, for a conversation about digitalization, how it’s taking the world by storm, and what that means for Nova and the semiconductor industry.
Zohar, let’s start with you. What magic is brewing in the semiconductor manufacturing industry that’s changing the way we talk about semiconductors?
“The fact that semiconductor manufacturing is enabling breakthrough technologies and powering various cutting-edge digital devices, is definitely changing things. The industry’s growth trajectory holds immense potential because of emerging new technologies like autonomous driving, AI, 5G, IoT, and more. Though the shape and dynamic of the semiconductor industry have changed dramatically, driven by headlong growth demand for IC manufacturers across the globe, the journey is not an easy one. These IC manufacturers operate in a highly challenging and competitive environment, where they need to provide their solutions to the cadence of Moore’s law—enhancing their technologies and bringing solutions with better performance to the market every two years.”
With things moving so fast and with so much competition, do you think it’s possible to keep up the magic?
“To keep up the momentum in this rapidly changing landscape, semiconductor manufacturers need to achieve shorter development cycles, faster time-to-market, and higher product yields that collectively contribute to rapid product launches. But that is easier said than done.
And that’s precisely where Nova is moving the needle. As an international company, Nova specializes in process control solutions for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Deployed with the world’s largest integrated-circuit manufacturers, Nova’s novel technologies provide semiconductor manufacturers with the right process insight and clarity required to boost process performance, product yields, and time to market. Nova is delivering continuous innovation by providing advanced process control metrology solutions that present a unique combination of dimensional metrology (for measuring critical dimensions) and materials metrology (for measuring material properties).”
Shay, what would you say is Nova’s secret of innovation?
“I would say it’s that Nova provides customers with advanced modeling algorithms combining physical modeling with machine learning and big data within both integrated and stand-alone configurations. This enables them to gain deeper insight and faster time to solution, throughout the entire R&D and manufacturing processes.
Nova’s ingenious metrology solutions are based on numerous advanced technologies in various fields of expertise, including Optical Scatterometry, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), Raman spectroscopy, scatterometry modeling software and high-performance computing.”
We have unique hardware solutions combined with an algorithmic suite which is both physically and mathematically based, using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Zohar, how do you determine what your customers want?
“Attaining a deep understanding of our customers’ challenges and processes is really important to us. That’s why our technology and product experts invest a significant amount of time collaborating with customers, at every phase, in order to understand what challenges face the customer. Once we understand the challenge, we can move on to developing the solution.
During the manufacturing process, our solutions enable our customers to see critical parameters that influence the device performance. These have a high correlation to the yield at the end of the line. As a result, with our advanced process control, manufacturers can better control the process and eventually achieve high yield.”
They say belief informs action. Shay, what do you think is one of Nova’s core beliefs that inform action?
“We firmly believe in innovation and provide solutions that take the off-beat path of technology. We strive to create new channels of information and additional sources of data, challenging the preconceived standards in the industry. This is then combined with our unique modeling solutions, which include understanding the sample, structure, process, and more. Our strong mathematical modeling of machine learning and big data enables the customers to analyze and utilize the data, make use of multiple measurements, and implement it all in smart infrastructure.”
Zohar, Can you put your finger on what characterizes Nova’s innovators DNA?
Nova’s unparalleled capabilities can be best explained through a customer success story that involved one of the largest manufacturers in the world. The client approached Nova for a solution that was not available before, both in terms of information content and output. With its unique approach, Nova introduced a completely new solution in terms of hardware and algorithms and offered the client a quick turnaround time to develop models and get insight into the process with a limited need for destructive measurements. This solution helped the client to accelerate its R&D cycle and solved various critical applications. Moreover, the solution provided the client with insights into their process development and faster response time.
Clearly, the uniqueness of Nova stems from its ability to innovate and execute anything in a channelized manner. Also, the company invests nearly 20 percent of its revenue back in the R&D to improve the existing solutions and develop unique technologies and solutions for its customers. Similarly, the collaborative approach and partnership with its clients in the semiconductor manufacturing space is something that has made Nova a global company that is trusted and appreciated.
Shay, what makes Nova so proud about success stories like this?
Success stories, like this one, are testament to the value and innovation Nova brings to the table. With team work firmly embedded in its DNA, and an understanding that complex problems require multilayered solutions, Nova develops future technologies in multidisciplinary teams, thinking outside the box. With increasing demand for semiconductor technology across many verticals ranging from 5G in automotive to smart manufacturing, Nova, with its unique set of technologies and solutions, looks forward to bringing next-generation solutions to the industry. We see a lot of progress in process control and metrology and we challenge ourselves to redefine the limits of what can be achieved in this domain.