Frequently Asked Questions
Is the system capable of critical dimension measurements?
Yes. The system is capable of critical dimension measurements, such as feature measurement and line width.
Do you offer NIST calibration standards?
Yes. On request we provide NIST calibration standards. Our standard calibration is for pixel calibration.
How large is the nSpec system?
One of the benefits of our tabletop nSpec® inspection system is its compact size—32.63W x 36.73H x 32.63D. If you pair the system with an automatic wafer loader the dimensions are 44.63W x 36.73H x 32.63D
Does the system come with a PC?
Yes. The standard system comes with a PC with powerful specifications that enable super-resolution image processing.
Does the system require an isolation table?
The system does not require an isolation table, but if you want to use an atomic force microscopy lens or inspect at high resolutions of 20x or more, an isolation table is recommended. Our fully automated system includes a TMC 63-561 isolation table.
Is the system a lab tool for R&D or a production tool?
It is both. The system can be used as a lab tool for R&D, or as a production tool. We can also customize the system to meet your specific needs.
What types of defects or features can the system classify?
Whether it is pits, scratches, cracks, particles or any other feature, the system can be customized to detect exactly what you want to find. The system has an artificial intelligence analyzer and training the AI analyzer is as simple as showing it samples of defects and naming the classifications you want used for those defects. After a few “learning” sessions, the AI analyzer will recognize and classify those defects automatically. The system also includes a device inspection method that builds an ideal device template and compares that to other devices and flags any areas that deviate from the ideal template.
Does the system automatically focus?
Yes. The system has autofocus capabilities. It can autofocus in predefined locations or prior to every image capture. The system uses a contrast-based algorithm for autofocus which allows autofocus on completely transparent or highly reflective materials.
Does the system automatically set the light intensity?
Yes. If you want light intensity to be set automatically you can enter the light intensity setting as a user-defined preference and save your preference settings as a “job” for future use.
Does the system have OCR capabilities?
What type of optics does the system use?
The system uses Olympus brightfield/darkfield objectives.
What type of light source does the system use?
The standard system uses a white light LED. We can also configure a system with transmitted, ultra-bright LED, near UV, halogen, or another specified wavelength.
What illumination modes does the system use?
The standard nSpec® system includes brightfield, darkfield, and DIC (Differential Interference Contrast/Nomarski) imaging modes. The system can also accommodate various filters for fluorescence and can pair other imaging modes with the standard brightfield mode. We also offer an optional transmitted light source.
What is the highest defect or feature resolution?
Before super resolution, the Abbe Limit was the limit for microscopy resolution. The Abbe Limit was discovered in 1873 by the German physicist Ernst Abbe and that “limit” explained that optical imaging instruments are limited in their resolution ability by the physical diffraction properties of light. This limitation hindered the resolution of optical microscopy for more than a century. But now with super-resolution techniques, the Abbe limit can be overcome. The nSpec® system uses super resolution and can detect defects in the 250-nanometer size range. We also offer computational microscopy methods which can detect and classify defects beyond the limits of traditional optical microscopy, and a scanning probe atomic force microscopy (AFM) lens that can provide topography and measurement in the single nanometer range.
Can the system use filters or other wavelength light sources?
Yes. The system can be adapted to accommodate various filters and light sources.
Does the system use transmitted light?
Yes. The system can be configured to use transmitted light.
How many objectives can be installed on the system?
Five objectives can be installed. The standard objective included is 5x and we offer an optional atomic force microscopy (AFM) lens. Additional objectives (1.25, 2.5, 10, 20, 50 and 100x) are also available.
How many megapixels is the camera?
The camera is 6 megapixels with a typical pixel size of 5.5 microns and a frame rate of 17.4 fps.
Do you offer color imaging?
Yes. The system can be equipped with a color camera for imagining. Image analysis is in greyscale, except for the analyses performed by the AI analyzer.
How large is the field of view?
The field of view is 3296 x 2472 pixels. The typical field of view for detecting defects 1µm and above is 2.5mm x 2mm.
What type of prism does the DIC illumination mode use?
The system uses a Nomarski prism for DIC illumination.
Do multiple systems communicate?
Yes. One of our customers uses 12 systems at various steps of the manufacturing process and all the systems communicate with each other.
Does the system have SECS/GEM capability?
Yes. The system has SECS/GEM compatibility.
Does the system integrate with MES applications?
Yes. Our software team will work with your engineers to enable messaging between the nSpec® and your manufacturing execution system.
Can the system analyze images acquired from a different system such as a SEM?
Yes. The ability to analyze images from other systems such as a SEM is possible.
What types of samples can be scanned?
We can scan semiconductor, ceramic, polymeric, and transparent samples.
How do I know if the system will work for my samples and application?
Our solutions team will listen to your inspection challenges and work with you to find the solution that best fits your needs. We will use samples you provide to demonstrate our inspection solution to your challenge.
Can the system inspect transparent samples such as glass and optics?
Yes. The system can inspect transparent samples such as glass and optical lenses.
Can the system inspect fabrics and materials?
Yes. The system can inspect a wide range of substrates, including fabric and materials.
Can the system scan a barcode reader sample ID?
Yes. The system allows an operator to use a barcode reader to scan sample IDs.
How long does it take to scan a sample?
Scan time of samples is dependent upon the required resolution and the sample size. For example, a 100mm sample at 0.908 um/pixel resolution would take six minutes to scan.
What is the largest sample area that can be scanned?
The standard is 200mm x 200mm, but we also offer a 300mm system. We can also create a custom inspection solution for you if your need something larger than 300mm.
Can you accommodate custom-sized samples?
Yes. We will design a solution to fit your needs.
Does the system have an automatic wafer handler?
Yes. The system handler is designed for wafers, but our automation team can easily design a custom handler to work with whatever substrate you want to inspect.
What size range does the wafer loader accommodate?
The wafer loader can accommodate 2-to-8-inch wafers. A fully automated wafer handling system is available, and we can custom-build automated handling equipment for non-wafer applications.
Can the system accommodate edge exclusion?
Yes. The system can accommodate edge exclusion and the exclusion area can be adjusted as necessary.
Can the system inspect diced wafers on hoop rings?
Yes. Our standard sample chuck can accommodate diced wafers on hoop rings. We can also accommodate gel packs, masks, and broken pieces. We will customize sample chucks and fixtures to accommodate your specific needs.
Can the system inspect patterned wafers?
Yes. The system will image an ideal pattern and create a golden template that is compared to the other patterns and any significant deviations are marked as defects.
Can surface roughness measurement be made using 3D topography scanning mode?
Yes. The surface roughness can be calculated with the topographic data. The nSpec® can capture 3D topographies at sub-micron resolution using a rapid, non-contact optical method.
Does 3D scanning contact the surface?
Yes and no. We can tailor a solution that fits your needs. If you don’t want to use surface contact, we can create a 3D topography using a focus stacking method or we can acquire several images of the same surface viewpoint but illuminated from different directions, doing that will reveal 3D surface details. If you need sub-micron resolution, then surface contact is used. We have an atomic force microscopy (AFM) lens for surface contact inspections.
What is the highest resolution for 3D topography?
The maximum 3D topography resolution is 0.200µm for x, and y axis resolution and about 70nm for z axis resolution. We also offer an optional atomic force microscopy lens (AFM) with 1.7nm x, y axis resolution and 0.34nm z axis resolution.
How does the artificial intelligence analyzer work?
The artificial intelligence analyzer recognizes patterns and generates insights from calculated data. Training the AI analyzer is as simple as showing it samples of defects and naming the classifications you want used for those defects. After a few “learning” sessions the AI analyzer will recognize and classify those defects automatically.
Do you offer software updates?
Yes. We are continuously updating our software. Our software updates can be installed remotely, or if you prefer, or if remote access is unavailable, a member of our technical services team will come onsite to install the software update for you.
Can the software be installed on workstations?
Yes. The system can be installed on workstations. The software can also be installed on computers and used solely for image analysis.
What types of image analysis techniques does the system use?
We use basic thresholding, computer vision, golden-template based, and artificial intelligence image analysis techniques. Our analysis shows yield and aids in assigning causality, so you can quickly adjust your process.
Does the system have macro scan and analysis capabilities?
Yes. The system can capture macro-level defects and analyze them in seconds.
Can the system import KLARF for defect review?
Yes. The system can import and export in KLARF format. The system can review defects on an imported KLARF file.
What is the output of scan and analysis data?
We can export to KLARF, csv, and xml formats.
Do you customize software for individual customers or application?
Yes. We will customize software to meet the needs of our customers and for other special applications.
Can I request a new feature or hardware modifications?
Yes. You can request a new feature or hardware modification at any time. Our automation team has custom designed many modifications for our customers.
Is training included with the system?
Two days of training are included with the system.
How long does it take to set up a new inspection recipe?
A recipe can be set up in minutes and saved as a “job” for future use.