SAN JOSE, Calif., Nov. 13, 2001 — KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ: KLAC) today announced that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) (NYSE: TSM) successfully completed its beta evaluation of KLA-Tencor’s TeraStar SLF27 reticle inspection system on advanced sub-wavelength reticles used in manufacturing devices with design rules as small as 130 nm. Based on TeraStar’s performance during the evaluation, TSMC has ordered several additional systems, which will be installed in TSMC’s facilities over the next two quarters.
“As the highest-volume mask and integrated circuit (IC) manufacturer worldwide, we need reticle inspection tools that can perform at peak sensitivity without impacting our high-productivity requirements,” stated Jia-Jing Wang, senior director of E-Beam Operations at TSMC. “Using TeraStar, we were able to detect critical defects on our most advanced photomasks, while achieving a 2.7 times increase in productivity. It has played an important role in helping us to meet the required turn time for our customers’ wafers, while maintaining our ‘zero defect’ standards on the photomask and IC production floor.”
Developed in cooperation with International SEMATECH and introduced last year, TeraStar SLF27 has the high sensitivity and throughput needed to detect all types of particle contamination and pattern defects on multi-die pelliclized reticles in a high-production environment. The system incorporates KLA-Tencor’s proprietary Tera algorithms and image computer, which enable the tool to inspect up to one million by one million pixels per reticle—providing the sensitivity needed to detect defects as small as 100 nm at speeds up to three times greater than competing systems. The Tera algorithms also enable TeraStar to inspect optical proximity correction (OPC) features on advanced sub-wavelength reticles without reducing its sensitivity in order to avoid the capture of nuisance and false defects—a problem that plagues other reticle inspection tools.
“As the industry strives to accelerate the pace of Moore’s Law using sub-wavelength lithography, the ability to inspect complex photomasks is crucial,” said Kurt Kimmel, mask program manager at International SEMATECH. “The development of the TeraStar product is the result of a longstanding cooperation between International SEMATECH and KLA-Tencor, and is an important component of our objective to address the critical semiconductor industry issue of mask supply.”
The additional TeraStar systems ordered by TSMC will be used for reticle inspection in TSMC’s photomask manufacturing operations, as well as at TSMC’s 200 mm and 300 mm wafer fab operations.
“We are extremely pleased at the positive feedback we’ve received from TSMC on TeraStar’s performance in helping them ensure the quality of their advanced photomasks,” stated Lance Glasser, vice president and general manager of KLA-Tencor’s Reticle and Photomask Inspection Division. “TeraStar has proven to be one of our most successful tool platforms, in no small part due to TSMC’s early involvement in the development of this tool. Their decision to purchase additional systems is a testament to its acceptance as the benchmark for advanced reticle inspection.”
About TSMC: TSMC is the world’s largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, providing the industry’s leading process technology and the foundry industry’s largest alliance of process-proven library, IP and design tools. The company operates two advanced 300 mm wafer fabs, seven eight-inch fabs and two six-inch wafer fabs. TSMC also has substantial capacity commitments at two joint ventures fabs (Vanguard and SSMC) and at its wholly-owned subsidiary, WaferTech. In early 2001, TSMC became the first IC manufacturer to announce a 0.10-micron technology alignment program with its