Paul van Gerven
28 June 2023

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a grant to Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), ARCNL and ASML to improve e-beam inspection in semiconductor manufacturing. Electron microscopy allows for the visualization of smaller defects than light-based techniques, at the cost of (much) lower throughput, damage to the wafer and the appearance of artifacts. The “Foundations for electron-beam metrology and inspection” project aims to overcome these shortcomings.

Chip structures
Examples of chip structures that need to be inspected. Credit: TU Delft

“Together with ASML and our colleagues at ARCNL, we aim to obtain a better fundamental understanding of the processes that lead to damage and artifacts and use this understanding to arrive at faster and more reliable electron imaging,” says Jacob Hoogendoorn, associate professor at TU Delft’s Imaging Physics Department.

The grant is part of the “Demand-driven partnerships for consortia” call in the Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) program, which sponsors pioneering innovative solutions with social and economic impact. NWO’s contribution is almost 2 million euros, ASML is investing over 2.3 million.