New Vision Systems: Leadership in Mission-Critical Process Control

New Vision Systems has, since 1989, developed and implemented new methods for process control in all areas of microelectronic manufacturing with a primary focus on patterning processes (lithography and etch). The company provides process engineering expertise and software solutions that enable the scalable application of its innovative technology to process-specific challenges.

New Vision Systems' software and engineering solutions consolidate data in real time from many sources, automatically relate disparate information from separate events, analyze that data within the context of known cause-and-effect relationships, and then apply the results to perform automated process recipe optimization and wafer routing decisions. These solutions routinely produce dramatic improvements in yield and performance over any prior approach used by both entry-level and sophisticated customers. These improvements frequently also permit customers to extend the useful life of their extremely expensive capital equipment. The combination of these benefits often results in returns on investment (ROI) of less than one month.

As the industry's leading provider of outsourced process control, New Vision Systems delivers highly robust and functional solutions faster and better than in-house resources. Its products are used in process development and in high-volume production. The company is dedicated to delivering products that are compatible with process and metrology tools from all major vendors. To accomplish this, New Vision Systems maintains long-standing technical and business relationships with most major process, in-situ monitoring and metrology tool suppliers, while remaining independent of exclusive relationships with any single tool supplier.

New Vision Systems' technology and methods are so innovative that its products have been recognized as de facto industry standards, providing the most reliable microlithography process development and automated process control available. Installed in over 150 microelectronic fabs around the world, the company's software has led to improvements in accuracy and reductions in cycle time, resulting in higher productivity, new capability, and faster ramp to mature process yield. Industry-leading R&D and customer satisfaction teams ensure that New Vision Systems' products exceed current and next generation customer requirements.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., New Vision Systems maintains offices in San Jose, Calif., and York, England and offers sales and service in a number of countries including Japan, Europe, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.

New Vision Systems Products

New Vision Systems offers two primary product lines, the MONO-LITH and ARGUS software packages. These products are the most visible expression of NVS' innovative process solutions, and each deployment is fully supported by NVS' process engineering expertise and process consulting. MONO-LITH, the company's original (since 1989) process analysis software solution, offers data analysis to improve the performance of both overlay and critical dimension (CD) control, critical steps in the lithography process. ARGUS, introduced in 1997, offers complete advanced process control (APC) for complex manufacturing environments.

MONO-LITH REG Analysis Package

The MONO-LITH REG Analysis Package is the most flexible and reliable solution available for exposure tool overlay control. As the only solution that excels in all major areas of overlay analysis, it minimizes overlay variation, speeds stepper acceptance testing and pinpoints registration error sources.

The latest release of MONO-LITH REG Analysis is MONO-LITH 6.0 for Windows. This release significantly increases the software's ease of use over previous versions. Foremost among the benefits it offers are ease of use as a native MS-Windows application and new capabilities that allow users to:

  • Run multiple workspaces simultaneously
  • Save sessions and workspaces, including data, plots and tables
  • Open multiple report windows simultaneously and build a series of reports into a workspace
  • Create scripts that support automated environments with increased programming flexibility
  • Export reports, tables and plots to HTML files
  • Copy, paste and print tables and graphics from the workspace

Additional benefits of MONO-LITH for Windows include graphical intra-lot trend plots, improved coefficient sensitivity calculation, an integrated data import editor, independent residual filter limits for X and Y, a combined analysis approach, and wafer-to-wafer analysis.

MONO-LITH REG/RT Analysis Package

MONO-LITH REG/RT offers the most robust overlay lot disposition method available. Disposition decisions are based on New Vision Systems' Total Modeled Error analysis and are proved more accurate than conventional statistical methods.

MONO-LITH REG and REG/RT are the only overlay control solutions that meet the rigorous requirements of today's most advanced manufacturing processes and offer the best reliability and performance in its category.

ARGUS Advanced Process Control System

ARGUS offers complete advanced process control in a software system specifically optimized to improve high volume process capability and productivity in complex manufacturing environments, including such specialized environments as foundry and ASIC fabs. Raw process data extracted from any number and type of process and metrology tools is indexed, analyzed, and stored in the ARGUS database for rapid access by process engineers, statistical process control (SPC) queries and automated process feedback requests. Feedback actively and intelligently controls process tools.

Features incorporated into ARGUS include:

  • Enhanced use-case-based lithography CD and overlay control
  • Independent feedforward corrections loop
  • Graphical user interface (GUI) and computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) systems allow direct control over ARGUS
  • ARGUS automatically identifies new parts and reticles and automatically tunes configuration in response to their introduction
  • Analyze metrology and feedback data using customer's own models and algorithms or ARGUS' existing ones
  • Utilizes customer analysis models in parallel with NVS models: Protects IP while providing the flexibility of an in-house APC system
  • Feedback Analyzer eliminates need to manually review test logs significantly reducing time to validate new settings
  • Feedback Optimizer tests new feedback algorithms to determine efficacy against historical data
  • Rapidly responds to feedback requests - faster than other controllers
  • Expanded use case library relates system functions to actual operational scenarios

ARGUS increases process tool throughput by eliminating the need for send-ahead wafers, by minimizing reliance on monitor wafers, and by replacing slow and error-prone manual adjustments. The software continuously tunes the process by correlating metrology and process data to calculate optimum operating parameters for ensuing process events. ARGUS further increases productivity by supporting mix-and-match combinations of high-performance and low-price process tools from any supplier.

ARGUS also increases process tool availability. The program's SPC tool telemetry monitor can detect tool excursions earlier than metrology methods. Rapid historical data acquisition and drill-down functions accelerate diagnoses. The reduction in the mean time spent on fixing process and equipment excursions can reduce unscheduled excursion-related downtime by up to 75 percent.

Key Management

Joseph Pellegrini - Director of Marketing and Technology, Patterning Solutions Joseph Pellegrini founded New Vision Systems in 1988 while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation electronics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1991 Pellegrini received a Master of Science degree in systems engineering from MIT while continuing to grow and run the company. Pellegrini has been a successful software entrepreneur for over 20 years. Before founding NVS he successfully created and marketed software products targeted at various commercial applications including customer relationship management for the life insurance industry, logistics management for professional service companies and cost estimation for graphic arts and printing. He also served as a visiting lecturer at MIT for an advanced undergraduate course entitled, "Microprocessor Architecture, Interfacing, and Control," a capstone in the MIT Avionics program. Today, he continues to offer his teaching services through various outlets associated with the company's business. In 1996 Pellegrini was awarded U.S. patent number 5,444,538 based upon a method that can improve overlay registration in mix-and-match wafer stepper environments by as much as 30 percent.

David Chamberland - Director of Operations, Patterning Solutions

David Chamberland is a co-founder of New Vision Systems. While earning a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation electronics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Chamberland managed NVS' initial software development contracts.

Chamberland started his first software development company in 1983 and delivered multi-platform software to customers worldwide. From the very first he has been central to the architecture and development of NVS' software products as well as procedures and processes for successful delivery of mission-critical enterprise software. Chamberland is responsible for oversight of the company's operations, which include the Product Development, Professional Services, Advanced Applications and Information Technology groups.

Prior to re-joining the company in 1994, Chamberland was a project leader and principal investigator in software development automation and domain-specific expert software systems at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory. Chamberland holds an S.B. in aviation electronics from MIT.
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