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November 21 2017 Issue

21 November, 2017
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FUNDAMENTALS OF PROCESS CONTROL

This is the introduction to a series of 10 installments which will discuss fundamental truths about process control—inspection and metrology—for the semiconductor industry.
By fundamental, we imply the following:

  • Unassailable: They are self-evident, can be proven from first principles, or are supported by the dominant behavior at fabs worldwide
  • Unchanging: These concepts are equally true today for 28nm as they were 15 years ago for 0.25μm, and are expected to hold true in the future
  • Universal: They are not unique to a specific segment of process control; rather they apply to process control as a group, as well as to each individual component of process control within the fab

Each article in this series will introduce one of the 10 fundamental truths and discuss interesting applications of these truths to semiconductor IC fabs. Given the increasing complexity of advanced devices and process integration, process control is growing in importance. By understanding the fundamental nature of process control, fabs can better implement strategies to identify critical defects, find excursions, and reduce sources of variation.

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