KLA has been granted a patent for a system that generates pump illumination for laser sustained plasma (LSP). The system includes an illumination source, focusing optics, and beam shapers to reshape the pump beam for optimal distribution. This technology enables the formation and maintenance of plasma that emits broadband illumination. GlobalData’s report on KLA gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on KLA, Defect detection models was a key innovation area identified from patents. KLA's grant share as of February 2024 was 59%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

System for generating pump illumination for laser-sustained plasma

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: KLA Corp

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11921297B2) discloses a system designed to generate broadband illumination through the formation or maintenance of a plasma. The system includes an illumination source that outputs a pump beam, focusing optics, and beam shapers that reshape the pump beam to create a shaped pupil power distribution at an illumination pupil plane. This distribution can be a flat-top distribution or an inverted distribution with a central local intensity minimum. The reshaped pump beam is directed to a plasma-forming material by the focusing optics, resulting in the emission of broadband illumination. Various configurations of beam profiles and beam shapers are described in the patent claims to achieve the desired pupil power distribution.

Furthermore, the patent also covers an optical characterization system that incorporates the plasma site, illumination source, focusing optics, beam shapers, and collection optics to direct the broadband illumination to a sample. A collection sub-system with a detector and optical elements is included to generate measurements of the sample based on the data received from the detector. The system can perform metrology or inspection measurements on samples like wafers or photomasks. The method outlined in the patent involves generating a pump beam, reshaping it to a shaped pupil power distribution at the illumination pupil of focusing optics, and directing it to a plasma-forming material to create or sustain a plasma emitting broadband illumination. The patent emphasizes specific characteristics of the shaped pupil power distribution and beam profile to optimize the generation of broadband illumination.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.