The entire chip manufacturing process consists of 400 to 800 production steps. At all critical points in the manufacturing process, inspection processes are essential to ensure the high quality and reliability of the final products. Additionally, they help secure a defined yield of cost-intensive chip production. Moreover, with each node, the inspection process becomes more challenging and costly. Nowadays, defect tolerance is increasingly low due to process shrinks, smaller features, design complexities, and the integration of heterogeneous components at wafer level. For this reason, and to reduce costs, today's optical inspection tools must detect defects in the nanometer range, enabling damaged structures to be removed from the process at an early stage.
These tools often work in scanning modes where a specific position must be identified and subsequently approached with high precision, or for applications where it is necessary to follow a trajectory for processing steps. Within our product portfolio, PI provides the integrated solution to support both substrate carriers and objective assembly.