PDF Solutions, Inc., the leading provider of semiconductor electrical characterization technologies, announces today the commercial availability of its Design-for–Inspection™ solution (“DFI”). DFI™ is a next-generation solution for inspection that enables non-destructive inline electrical characterization and process control. With this launch, PDF Solutions also announces that it has received orders for its DFI systems, as described below, from two foundry customers.
As Moore’s Law advances and chip dimensions continue to shrink, the IC industry has introduced a variety of new, 3-D architectures, such as FinFETs, 3-D NAND, and other advanced 3-D structures, aimed at advancing chip performance. With the introduction of 3-D structures, inline electrical characterization is required for process control. Existing e-beam scanning solutions are not optimized to measure the electrical response of the wafer with the required fidelity and throughput.
Next Generation Inspection and Process Control
DFI™ solves this challenge by placing on-chip instruments with calibrated electrical responses directly in the product wafer without any die area penalty. In addition, DFI is designed to be high-throughput, enabling in-line use. The electrical measurements augment and enhance existing optical defect inspection and metrology. DFI is based on PDF Solutions’ 20 years of yield simulation software and Characterization Vehicle® test chip development. The Company’s co-design of its proprietary on-chip instruments and specialized e-beam tool enables a unique fast scanning approach that is necessary for inline measurement of product wafers.
The Design-for-Inspection™ System
PDF Solutions’ comprehensive DFI™ systems can be deployed across a variety of process nodes. To date, on-chip DFI instruments have been placed in customers’ designs at the 28 nanometer (nm) through 7 nm foundry logic process nodes. The proprietary solution includes software for the design of on-chip instruments, custom e-beam measurement hardware, and additional software to measure and analyze the electrical output.
• The Company’s on-chip characterization instruments are developed using PDF’s FIRE™ software to analyze customers’ product layouts along with additional proprietary design software. These DFI instruments are based on PDF’s Characterization Vehicle (CV) technology and are designed to be placed in test chips, scribe lines, or in product die, without any area penalty, and to exhibit specific electrical responses.
• The Company’s eProbe™ 150 series e-beam tools are designed to measure the electrical response of the DFI instruments. This new measure, which PDF Solutions calls an Electrical Response Index, allows for more precise inline characterization of design-process interactions.
• Exensio-DFI software, a part of PDF Solutions’ Exensio™ Big Data analytics platform, is designed to enable the analysis of the billions of measurements collected from the DFI instruments using the eProbe™.
Multiple Customer Orders and First System Deployed at a Major Foundry
The Company also announces today that it has received orders for DFI systems from two logic foundry customers, the first of which, including the first generation eProbe 150 tool, has already been deployed at one of these customers. The second DFI system is scheduled to be deployed at the second customer later this year. These systems will be used for technology development, volume ramp, and new product introductions at the 10nm process node and below.
“Advances in Moore’s Law require many new technological innovations and a new process control paradigm is one of the key requirements,” said John Kibarian, Chief Executive Officer of PDF Solutions. “Design-for-Inspection is a significant first step on this journey, providing the next generation of characterization, inspection, and process control.”
For more detailed information about PDF Solutions’ DFI solution, please contact Kimon Michaels, Vice President of Products and Solutions, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The statements made in this press release regarding the potential success of PDF Solutions’ products and solutions, including future expected results associated with the Company’s DFI solution, are forward looking and are subject to events and circumstances of the future. Actual results could differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements. Risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially include risks associated with: build and deployment delays or compliance with specifications; continued adoption of the Company’s new solutions by new and existing customers; project deliverables or delays; speed and success of measurement results; and other risks set forth in PDF Solutions’ periodic public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, without limitation, its Annual Reports on Form 10-K, most recently filed for the year ended December 31, 2015, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to such reports. The forward-looking statements made in this release are made as of the date hereof, and PDF Solutions does not assume any obligation to update such statements nor the reasons why actual results could differ materially from those projected in such statements.