SPIE Advanced Lithography Symposium 2017 – a prologue

The week before the annual SPIE Advanced Lithography Symposium is always a busy one for me, but this year it is particularly so.  It’s not just because I am giving a short course and three conference presentations.  And it’s not because I am coauthor on four other talks (that’s a total of seven papers – yikes!).  No, the real reason I am way too busy this week is that yesterday I launched my new company – Fractilia.

Seventeen years ago I sold my lithography simulation company FINLE Technologies, and after five years at KLA-Tencor I settled into the life of the “Gentleman Scientist”.  My goal was to contribute to the science and practice of lithography through my research, teaching, and writing, all the while looking into the problems that I thought were the most interesting.  For the last 10 years that “most interesting problem” has been stochastic-induced roughness.  It is an incredibly interesting, fun, and important topic, and I have written 25 papers since 2009 that I hope have contributed something to our community’s understanding of this vexing problem.  My goal has been to help transform our understanding of stochastics and roughness, so that we can better tackle the problem of reducing it.

Recently, though, I’ve come to understand that the best way for me to realize my vision of making a positive impact on the industry is to commercialize my ideas in software.  So I’ve teamed up with my old partner from the FINLE days, Ed Charrier, to start a new company (Fractilia) and to introduce a new product (MetroLER).

The goal of Fractilia is to bring rigor, accuracy, and ease-of-use to the analysis of stochastic-induced roughness in semiconductor manufacturing and process development.  Fractilia will deliver something I think is currently lacking in the industry:  accurate and repeatable analysis of SEM images to extract the true, unbiased roughness behavior of wafer features.  I think the industry needs this product.  Of course, the market will tell me if I am right.

So, as I have for the last several years, I’ll be giving papers next week on various ways in which the measurement of pattern roughness can go wrong.  I’ll complain about errors in the SEM and how they hide the true roughness behavior on the wafer.  I’ll moan about the statistical difficulties of sampling, aliasing, and biases in our measurements.  But this year I’ll do more than complain – I’ll do something about it.

For the interested reader, here is a recent press article on the new company:

http://semiengineering.com/fractilia-pattern-roughness-metrology/

And here is the company website:  www.fractilia.com

Now, it is back to writing papers.  See you in San Jose!

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