TSMC Unveils New Yield Enhancement Tool Real-Time Information Speeds Early Error Detection and Accurate Test Data Analysis

SAN JOSE, Calif.,May 3, 1999- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world's largest independent foundry, today introduced a new integrated yield enhancement tool that uses the Internet's global reach to dramatically shorten process development cycle time.

The new tool, called TSMC-YES (Yield Enhancement System), is a real time, dedicated software application that establishes a point-to-point connection between the IC designer and TSMC's fabs. Through real-time data transfer between foundry and customer, TSMC-YES enables the designer to view and analyze detailed test data during process development and troubleshoot specific failure patterns. The result is improved product yields, improved wafer quality and a reduced overall cycle time.

TSMC-YES offers three unique features including a common yield analysis tool to improve communications between the foundry and designers; the real-time availability of in-line measurements, such as poly CD data; and a turnkey point-to-point tool that even a start-up fabless company can use with minimum MIS support.

"The key to TSMC's improving production efficiency is that our engineers at our foundries and designers inside our customers' organizations share a common set of yield analysis tool that, for the first time, provide real-time information sharing," said FC Tseng, President, TSMC.

"Two years ago, TSMC introduced the 'Virtual Fab' concept. TSMC-YES is the next step in bringing the concept to fruition. The sharing of real-time information across the globe helps bring the look and feel of a fab facility that, for all intent and purpose, could be next door," he explained.

All-in-One Tool

TSMC-YES is part of the company's efforts to minimize the technical and logistical barriers to entry. Previously, foundry customers had to download raw data into spreadsheets before performing in-depth analysis. This methodology delayed the delivery of feedback to TSMC. With TSMC-YES, the information is transferred over the Internet for real-time visibility and more timely feedback, allowing for more accurate and efficient failure analysis and troubleshooting.

Data travels from the foundry over the Internet directly to the customer, loaded by a loader to the TSMC-YES database running on Windows NT at the customer's site. The customer then uses the TSMC-YES application to gain immediate access to the data. TSMC-YES includes an advanced wafer map analyzer (user-definable zone); a correlation analyzer for electrical test, sort and WIP data; a high/low yield analyzer; an engineering-run analyzer (split lot); and a commonality analyzer (equipment, recipe, chamber, etc.). The loader can be customized to handle the data to meet specific customer needs. TSMC-YES also maintains complete lot histories to support lot traceability.

"Altera was looking for an integrated tool that could correlate the yield of every lot with its process history, said Francois Gregoir, senior director of technology at Altera." "We needed easy-to-use menus and routines to analyze in real-time the data collected in process and test. TSMC-Yes delivers these functions and many more. Using TSMC-YES as a common tool, Altera can work with TSMC to quickly identify major yield limitations while ramping up a new process."

Pricing and Availability

TSMC-YES is available immediately through the company's worldwide marketing. The program was developed by ACME Systems, a leader in yield improvement software, who also is responsible for software installation and loader development at the customer site.

A Windows NT server with 30 to 40 GB hard disk space and 2 GB of memory, plus an NT/Windows 95 client with 64 Mbytes of memory are required to run the application. TSMC-YES is priced at $20,000 per user. Pricing for the optional