Atonarp announces the launch of Aston, an innovative metrology platform designed to improve the yield, throughput, and efficiency of semiconductor manufacturing processes

July 16, 2021-Atonarp, a leading manufacturer of molecular sensing and diagnostic products for the semiconductor, healthcare, and pharmaceutical industries, today announced the launch of Aston, an innovative in-situ semiconductor metrology platform with an integrated plasma ionization source.

Aston is a major evolution in the field of semiconductor production metrology, realizing in-situ molecular process control, making existing factories more efficient, and boosting output. Aston is specifically designed for semiconductor production. As a powerful platform, it can replace a variety of traditional tools and provide unprecedented levels of control in a range of comprehensive applications, including photolithography, dielectric and conductive etching, and deposition, chamber cleaning, Chamber matching, and digestion.

"Through Aston, the throughput per unit process in some applications can be increased by more than 40%, which is a great improvement. "For a typical fab, even if the overall production capacity is increased by 1%, the annual output can be Increased value by tens of millions of dollars. "Atonarp CEO, CTO, and founder Prakash Murthy said, "Adding Aston to existing production process tools can achieve higher production in just 6 to 8 weeks while installing new production equipment It takes up to a year. This will essentially help manufacturers improve their production levels and help solve the current shortage of capacity in semiconductor fabs. "

Fast and actionable Endpoint Inspection (EPD) is the most effective way to run semiconductor tools and fabs. So far, many process steps have not been able to deploy EPD because the required in-situ sensors cannot withstand the harsh process or chamber cleaning chemicals, or they can become clogged due to condensate deposits. Therefore, the fab has to set a specific time to ensure that the process is completely executed. Instead, Aston optimizes production by accurately detecting when a process ends, including chamber cleaning, which can reduce the required cleaning time by 80%.

Aston is resistant to corrosive gases and condensates gaseous pollutants. It is more robust than existing solutions and has independent dual ionization sources (a classic electron impact ionization source, and a filamentless plasma ionizer), so it can operate reliably under the harsh conditions that occur in semiconductor production. This allows Aston to be used in situ, that is, in harsh environments where traditional electron ionizers can quickly corrode and fail.

Compared with traditional quality analyzers, Aston's service interval is 100 times longer. It has a self-cleaning ability that can remove the condensate deposits produced in certain processes.

Since Aston can generate plasma autonomously, it can operate normally regardless of the presence of process plasma. This has obvious advantages over optical emission spectroscopy, which requires a plasma source to operate, which makes Aston an ideal choice for ALD and certain metal deposition processes, which may require the use of weaker, pulsed Plasma, or without plasma for processing.

Aston can also improve process consistency by providing quantitative, actionable real-time data, and can use artificial intelligence to promote high-performance machine learning to meet the most demanding process applications. In addition, thanks to the high accuracy, sensitivity, and repeatability of real-time data statistical analysis and chamber management, the production line and product output have also been improved.

Aston focuses on chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and etching applications, both of which have annual growth rates of more than 13%. The spectrometer can be installed in the new chamber when it is assembled, or it can be installed in an existing chamber that is already in operation.

Aston can also be used in combination with the intelligent pressure controller Psi developed by South Korea's ATI company. After several months of comprehensive technical feasibility assessment, this combined solution was recently sold to Samsung for an advanced process control application.

Aston is already available for evaluation and ordering directly at Atonarp or through Atonarp’s global partner network.