OCTOBER 8--Tower Semiconductor (www.towersemi.com) will implement New Vision Systems (NVS; Cambridge, MA; www.nvs.com) ARGUS lithography advanced process control (APC) in its state-of-the-art FAB-2 facility. "Tower's focus on quality manufacturing and high yield lead us to select NVS, a supplier of patterning control solutions. The ARGUS process control system was selected because it demonstrated its cost-effectiveness and rapid return on investment, which made it preferable to in-house and other commercially available process-control products," stated Ron Niv, Fab 2 manager of Tower Semiconductor.
Tower will deploy ARGUS to control its pure-play foundry manufacturing process, currently running 180-nm technology licensed from Toshiba. Tower's Fab 2 will produce unique flash and CMOS image-sensor devices using several advanced methods, such as field stitching, which challenge conventional APC systems.
ARGUS is a comprehensive APC system designed to support real-time monitoring and feedback control of high-volume patterning processes. Extensive use case solutions manage diverse product environments. ARGUS is capable of tracking hundreds of run-time and diagnostic exposure parameters, which can be used to identify sources of process variations and excursions, and facilitate increases in tool throughput and uptime. The techniques used by ARGUS are capable of improving run-to-run overlay and CD control by more than 25%, while increasing overall equipment effectiveness of steppers and scanners by more than 10%.