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Intel tips high-speed 3D imaging for SEMs

Posted: 10 Jun 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:scanning electron microscope? sem? software-enabled simulation?

Intel Corp. is developing a scanning electron microscope (SEM) technology that claims to be 100,000 times faster than current systems in the marketplace.

At the Research at Intel Day event at the company's headquarters, Intel described a new software-enabled simulation technology for a standard SEM. The technology enables surface imaging - and the reconstruction of the image - in three-dimensional-like forms.

The technology is still in the initial stages of research, but it could revolutionize and expand the role of traditional 2D-based SEMs in chip production. It is said to enable images at speeds of 100,000 - or a million - times faster than traditional SEMs, according to Intel.

In one example, the technology enables the SEM to collect data from the surface of photomask and reconstruct the surface in 3D. In this case, a defect from a theoretical device called a tri-gate transistor could be detected in 30 seconds, compared to a year with traditional SEMs, according to Intel.

The technology promises to detect defects in the "tens of nanometers" in 3D, said Horst Haussecker, manager of Computational Nano-Vision Research at Intel Labs.

Instead of using a Monte Carlo simulation technique, Intel is deploying a "filter-bank model" for SEMs, said Adam Seeger, research scientist for Computational Nano-Vision Research.

As a result, the technology enables a SEM to show the scattering effects, based on the curvature of the surface, the researchers said.

- Mark LaPedus

EE Times

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