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Nova Introduces Nova Metrion®- our New in-line SIMS Product and Technology

Dr. Shay Wolfling, Nova's CTO is proud to introduce the Nova Metrion®- our new in-line SIMS product and technology.

Click Play to watch the webinar

Hello to you all, In this short online Webinar, I want to introduce the Nova Metrion®– our new in-line SIMS product and technology.

The webinar will include a short overview of the technology, a few typical use cases, and some of the product highlights.

I’m Shay Wolfling, Nova’s CTO, responsible for our technology development for the past 10 years.

Nova Metrion

Following the press release we issued, we are happy to announce Nova’s new Material Metrology solution – the Nova Metrion®.

The Nova Metrion® platform is based on the technology of Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer (or SIMS), which is widely used today in semiconductor laboratories.

SIMS is used to measure complex logic and memory stacks and obtain precise depth-profiles of material properties.

The uniqueness and innovation of the Nova Metrion® is by bringing this advanced technology into the fab. This enables in-line SPC, in a fully automated way on 300mm production wafers.

Materials Engineering

The Nova Metrion® expands Nova’s solutions to the growing challenges of Material Engineering.

Beyond scaling and 3D architectures, customers are introducing new materials in each new generation, and the industry increases its reliance on materials engineering to advance performance and scaling.

These changes create a greater need to monitor and control advanced materials, and increase the demand for new measurements to precisely characterize minute changes in material properties.

Materials Metrology Portfolio

The usage of new methods for materials engineering is reflected in the growth of both our Xray and Optical material-metrology solutions.

Our XPS Nova VeraFlex tool for controlling composition and thickness of ultra-thin films has already been adopted in-line by all leading device makers.

The recently introduced Raman-Spectroscopy based Elipson, has also been adopted by leading memory and logic customers, running accurate in-line measurements on production wafers.

The Nova Metrion® is the newest addition to Nova’s Materials Metrology Portfolio:

  • Expanding our application coverage to include material-composition depth-profiling
  • and expanding our technology offering, to include Ions as well as X-Ray and Optics.

SIMS Technology

So, what is the SIMS Technology and how does it enable obtaining precise depth profiles of material composition?

  • We use a focused ion beam to remove minute layers of the wafer.
  • Charged ions of the extracted material (named secondary Ions) are collected and analyzed by a Mass Spectrometer, having multiple detectors that can detect different materials in parallel.
  • We thus get a full concentration and depth distribution of specific elements through the wafer- stack at the point of measurement.

Let me give one specific example:

  • This output graph shows the composition of a SiGe:B EPI wafer. Boron, Germanium, and Silicon are detected in the EPI layer.
  • The different colors show the change in concentration of the different materials as a function of depth.
  • This measurement can be repeated at several locations on the wafer, to create a wafer map.
  • The change in concentration as a function of depth is then uploaded to the factory host, where the data is monitored for process control.

As the measurement area is very small and as the source is contamination free, the wafer can go back into production to continue its manufacturing process, making Metrion a true in-line metrology tool.

Application Space

In-Line SIMS has a variety of high-value applications to significantly improve process control of critical steps.

Here we have 3 examples:

  • Monitoring material doping concentration in the Epi process.
  • Controlling the uniformity of Silicon-Germanium deposition in Nanosheets.
  • Detecting critical contaminants in 3DNAND manufacturing.

These use cases have been validated by customers and some are already running in production.

Dopant Concentration

The first use case I will describe is monitoring the doping or concentration of Boron, while epitaxially growing Silicon-Germanium layers. Since very small variations in the Boron concentration can impact the final device performance, Metrion platform is used to qualify, monitor, and match Epi chambers in the Fab.

During the Epi process, Metrion is used to control some key parameters:

  • Monitoring Epi growth uniformity, by tracking the Ge concentration and the ratio of Germanium to Boron (referred to as “Ge fraction”).
  • Measuring the Dopant concentration profile, peak concentration, and uniformity across the wafer.

On the top graph you can see an example of a single measurement of Boron, Germanium, and Si concentration profiles.

On the bottom graph you can see the tracking over time of the average Boron concentration and Germanium fraction, as being sent to the fab host for automatic SPC of the Epi process.

As a result of chamber qualification and matching in the fab, customers can achieve tighter process control on the challenging Epi process and higher uptime to their Epi chambers.

Deposition Uniformity

The 2nd use case is controlling the uniformity of Silicon-Germanium deposition in Nanosheets.

One of the critical steps in the manufacturing of Nanosheets or Gate-All-Around, is the deposition of SiGe.

The concentration of the Germanium, and in particular its uniform deposition on each nanosheet, dramatically affects the selectivity of the following etch process and has direct impact on the electrical performance of the transistor.

In-Line SIMS is used to monitor within-layer and within-wafer uniformity:

  • On the bottom graph you can see the Germanium concentration variation across each one of the 3 individual Nanosheets in one specific location.
  • While on the top graph you can see the uniformity of the Germanium concentration across the entire wafer, based on 9 measurement points.

Contamination Detection

The last Metrion use case I will review is Contamination-Detection in the deposition of the Word-line in 3DNAND.

Fluorine and Chlorine, which are materials used in the deposition of the Tungsten metal layer, tend to diffuse into the dielectric layer and can kill the device.

With in-line SIMS customers can detect and measure the concentration of these deadly contaminants through the stack.

On the top graph you can see a Metrion measurement result of the concentration profile of Chlorine and Fluorine.

On the bottom graph you can see an SPC chart example of monitoring Fluorine within spec over time and the beginning of a process excursion where the Fluorine Level increases beyond the upper control limit.

Measuring these contaminants in-line is critical both for improved accuracy as well as for device yield. Sending wafers to the Lab takes too long to detect, putting many wafers at risk before the process excursion is detected.

Uniquely designed for HVM

One key point to note before I summarize:

Nova’s Metrion implementation is very different from a Lab SIMS.

The platform is a fully automated, recipe-driven, 300mm wafer metrology system that seamlessly integrates into a Fab workflow for wafer-level analysis.

From an architecture perspective, the Metrion is designed from the ground up for the production environment:

This unique architecture is reflected in many key components including contamination-free advanced source, and a novel detector technology, which can measure multiple materials simultaneously.

The innovative architecture and differentiated components result in superior depth resolution as well as stable and repeatable measurements.

The system performs the analysis on a small measurement area, compatible with production wafers.

Combined with state-of-the art data analysis, the Nova Metrion® provides quantitative and actionable results, enabling advanced process control of complex and critical multi-layer films.


To summarize this Webinar:

  • We are proud to launch the industry’s first In-Line SIMS, enabling SPC of material composition profiles within Semiconductor production lines.
  • The Nova Metrion® is a fully automated HVM-worthy platform, with unique architecture and data analytics, targeted for the process control of complex 3D logic and memory stacks.
  • The output is high quality, reliable and repeatable SIMS data.
  • The Nova Metrion® is already installed and running in multiple locations, and Nova is expected to recognize revenues from this platform during 2021.

Nova Metrion® is the latest addition to our growing portfolio of advanced materials metrology solutions, bringing better process control to our customers.

This concludes today’s Webinar.

Thank you for attending.

Click on the Link to Access the Legal Disclaimer – https://www.novami.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Metrion-Webinar-FINAL-Disclaimer.pdf

Dr. Shay Wolfling
Dr. Shay Wolfling
CTO at Nova Measuring Instruments

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