Nova. has filed a patent for a method to determine properties of integrated circuit layers. By irradiating the IC and analyzing emitted electrons, the ratio of emission intensities from different layers can be used to determine material composition or thickness. The method utilizes XPS or XRF spectroscopy. GlobalData’s report on Nova gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on Nova, Pose estimation was a key innovation area identified from patents. Nova's grant share as of January 2024 was 48%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Material composition or thickness determination of integrated circuit layer

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Nova Ltd

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230408430A1) outlines a method for determining the properties of a layer in an integrated circuit (IC) by irradiating the IC to generate emission and collecting this emission to calculate the emission intensity of various species emitted from the layer and underlayer. By calculating the ratio of emission intensities from the layer and underlayer, the material composition or thickness of the layer can be determined. The method involves using techniques such as x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) or x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) for irradiation and emission collection, as well as irradiating the IC with ultraviolet or monochromatic radiation.

Furthermore, the patent describes a detailed process for determining the thickness of the layer by iteratively improving the ratio of emission intensities and considering factors such as electron attenuation length (EAL) and topography of the IC, including a repetitive fin structure. The intensity of emitted electrons from both the layer and underlayer is calculated using specific relationships and factors dependent on the thickness and composition of the layers. By incorporating coefficients related to the structure of the fin and the pitch, width, and height of the repetitive fin structure, the method aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of the layer properties in the integrated circuit. Overall, the patent presents a systematic approach to accurately determine the material composition and thickness of layers in an IC using emission intensity calculations and iterative processes based on emission ratios.

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