OEM : Semiconductor
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Improving Yield With Machine Learning
Machine learning is becoming increasingly valuable in semiconductor manufacturing, where it is being used to improve yield and throughput.
Synopsys engineers recently found that a decision tree deep learning method can classify 98% of defects and features at 60X faster retraining time than traditional CNNs. The decision tree utilizes 8 CNNs and ResNet to automatically classify 12 defect types with images from SEM and optical tools.
Macronix engineers showed how machine learning can expedite new etch process development in 3D NAND devices. Two parameters are particularly important in optimizing the deep trench slit etch — bottom CD and depth of polysilicon etch recess, also known as the etch stop.
KLA engineers, led by Cheng Hung Wu, optimized the use of a high landing energy e-beam inspection tool to capture defects buried as deep as 6µm in a 96-layer ONON stacked structure following deep trench etch. The e-beam tool can detect defects that optical inspectors cannot, but only if operated with high landing energy to penetrate deep structures. With this process, KLA was looking to develop an automated detection and classification system for deep trench defects.
KLA’s Frontline Cloud Services Sharply Reduces DFM Analysis Time
Computational power is one of the biggest challenges in speeding up these processes because PCB manufacturers typically run DFM analyses on premises today. But what if the DFM process was moved to the cloud, where compute power is almost infinite? And, what if high-density PCBs for 5G, miniLED, advanced packaging or automotive electronics could hit the market faster as a result?
In the cloud, the DFM analysis software can also process data faster and more accurately, and it frees up manufacturers’ servers. With that shift, CAM operators can do other tasks instead of sitting idle while DFM analyses run. Now, operators can review DFM analysis results right away while other analyses run in the cloud. Ultimately, moving to the cloud unlocks two typical DFM analysis bottlenecks, benefitting PCB manufacturers and their end-customers.
Big Payback For Combining Different Types Of Fab Data
Collecting and combining diverse data types from different manufacturing processes can play a significant role in improving semiconductor yield, quality, and reliability, but making that happen requires integrating deep domain expertise from various different process steps and sifting through huge volumes of data scattered across a global supply chain.
Fabs Drive Deeper Into Machine Learning
For the past couple decades, semiconductor manufacturers have relied on computer vision, which is one of the earliest applications of machine learning in semiconductor manufacturing. Referred to as Automated Optical Inspection (AOI), these systems use signal processing algorithms to identify macro and micro physical deformations.
Defect detection provides a feedback loop for fab processing steps. Wafer test results produce bin maps (good or bad die), which also can be analyzed as images. Their data granularity is significantly larger than the pixelated data from an optical inspection tool. Yet test results from wafer maps can match the splatters generated during lithography and scratches produced from handling that AOI systems can miss. Thus, wafer test maps give useful feedback to the fab.
AI In Inspection, Metrology, And Test
“The human eye can see things that no amount of machine learning can,” said Subodh Kulkarni, CEO of CyberOptics. “That’s where some of the sophistication is starting to happen now. Our current systems use a primitive kind of AI technology. Once you look at the image, you can see a problem. And our AI machine doesn’t see that. But then you go to the deep learning kind of algorithms, where you have very serious Ph.D.-level people programming one algorithm for a week, and they can detect all those things. But it takes them a week to program those things, which today is not practical.”
That’s beginning to change. “We’re seeing faster deep-learning algorithms that can be more easily programmed,” Kulkarni said. “But the defects also are getting harder to catch by a machine, so there is still a gap. The biggest bang for the buck is not going to come from improving cameras or projectors or any of the equipment that we use to generate optical images. It’s going to be interpreting optical images.”