Nova Measuring Instruments [NASDAQ: NVMI]: Changing the Narrative in Semiconductor Manufacturing
However, that’s easier said than done.
This is precisely where Nova Measuring Instruments is moving the needle. As an international company, Nova specializes in process control solutions for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Deployed with all the world’s largest integrated-circuit manufacturers, Nova’s novel technologies provide semiconductor manufacturers with the right process insight and clarity required to boost process performance, product yields, and time to market. The company delivers continuous innovation by providing advanced process control metrology solutions that present a unique combination of dimensional metrology (for measuring critical dimensions) and materials metrology (for measuring material properties). In addition, Nova also provides customers with advanced modeling algorithms combining physical modeling with machine learning and big data within both integrated and stand-alone configurations, enabling them to gain deeper insight and faster time to solution, throughout the entire R&D and manufacturing processes.
Nova’s ingenious metrology solutions are based on numerous advanced technologies in various fields of expertise, including Optical Scatterometry, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), scatterometry modeling software and high-performance computing. “We have unique hardware solutions combined with an algorithmic suite which is both physically and mathematically based, using artificial intelligence and machine learning,” states Dr. Shay Wolfling, CTO of Nova. “These solutions are deployed in numerous IC manufacturers, enabling them to develop the process from the early R&D stage all the way to high volume manufacturing”.
“We attain a deep understanding of our customers’ challenges and processes and deploy our solutions accordingly. During the manufacturing process, our solutions enable our customers to see critical parameters that influence the device performance and have high correlation to the yield at the end of the line. As a result, with our advanced process control, manufacturers can better control the process and eventually achieve high yield,” says Zohar Gil, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer, Nova. Elaborating more on the onboarding process, Gil goes on to mention that Nova’s group of application engineers and technology experts invests significant time in collaboration with its customers, starting from the R&D phase to understand the challenges and develop the required solution.
The high-tech solutions developed by Nova are predicated on multiple advanced technologies in various fields of expertise, including dimensional metrology and material metrology. Dimensional metrology combines complex opto-mechanical hardware with advanced optics and leading-edge algorithms. It measures Angstrom-level dimensions using the most advanced components in a very robust and repeatable way. At the same time, material metrology determines the material properties used in the semiconductor industry. “In order to determine the composition and other physical properties of advanced materials, we have developed several X-ray based technologies as well,” informs Gil.
The Innovator’s DNA
Clearly, the uniqueness of Nova stems from its ability to innovate and execute anything in a channelized manner. Also, the company invests almost 20 percent of its revenue back in the R&D to improve the existing solutions and develop unique technologies and solutions for its customers. Similarly, the collaborative approach and partnership with its clients in the semiconductor manufacturing space is something that has made Nova a global company that is trusted and appreciated.
Nova’s unparalleled capabilities can be best explained through a customer success story that involved one of the largest manufacturers in the world. The client approached Nova for a solution that was not available before, both in terms of information content and output. With its unique approach, Nova introduced a completely new approach in terms of hardware and algorithms and offered the client a quick turnaround time to develop models and get insight into the process with a limited need for destructive measurements. This solution helped the client to accelerate its R&D cycle and solved various critical applications. Moreover, the solution provided the client with insights into their process development and faster response time.
Success stories, as such, stand a testament to the value and innovation Nova brings to the table. With team work firmly embedded in its DNA, and an understanding that complex problems require multilayered solutions, Nova develops future technologies in multidisciplinary teams, thinking outside the box. With increasing demand for semiconductor technology across many verticals ranging from 5G in automotive to smart manufacturing, Nova, with its unique set of technologies and solutions, looks forward to bringing next-generation solutions to the industry. “We see a lot of progress in process control and metrology and we challenge ourselves to redefine the limits of what can be achieved in this domain” concludes Wolfling.