May 23, 2007 -- Hyphenated Systems , provider of hybrid microscopy solutions for three-dimensional (3D) imaging and metrology in micro- and nanotechnology, has announced the development of a combined advanced confocal/atomic force microscope (ACM/AFM) on one platform. The system is being developed jointly with atomic force microscope (AFM) provider KARMA Technology, Inc., and is geared for three-dimensional (3D) metrology applications in semiconductor manufacturing and laboratory environments.
Geared for the semiconductor industry, the system will be built to accommodate wafers up to 12-inches in diameter. It will also feature a patented probe module that is easily replaceable -- eliminating the need for time-intensive probe tip changes of the AFM.
"This hybrid confocal-AFM tool is expected to be the first real, fab-friendly AFM. We are building every possible feature into it to accommodate the needs of the manufacturing environment. The probe module eliminates tool downtime due to tip changes of the AFM; a special vibration isolation platform will enable the AFM to operate with high accuracy in a manufacturing environment; and the system will combine high-speed confocal imaging of larger features with detailed atomic-resolution imaging of targeted features -- without having to move the sample from one tool to another," said Terence Lundy, company vice president and managing director.
Hyphenated Systems specializes in advanced confocal microscopes that enable 3D measurements of material structures and fluid flow with sub-micrometer resolution. The company says its patented confocal microscope technology is unique in its ability to provide extremely fast, accurate, structural characterization of materials, including steep slopes, rough surfaces, and subsurface features in transparent media, many of which are difficult or impossible to measure with alternative techniques. The combined ACM/AFM tool promises the speed and 3D imaging advantages of ACM, combined with atomic-level resolution measurement capabilities of an AFM -- all on one single platform, preventing the need to move the sample.