Nova Measuring Instruments [NASDAQ: NVMI]: Changing the Narrative in Semiconductor Manufacturing

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Zohar Gil, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer
Stepping up the digitalization game, the semiconductor industry has taken the technology world by storm, enabling breakthrough technologies and powering various cutting-edge digital devices. The industry’s growth trajectory holds immense potential in the wake of new technologies like autonomous driving, AI, 5G, IoT, and more. While the shape and dynamic of the semiconductor industry have changed dramatically, driven by headlong growth in demand, for IC manufacturers across the globe, the journey has been arduous. These IC manufacturers operate in a highly challenging and competitive environment, where they need to provide their solutions to the cadence of Moore’s law—enhancing their technologies and bringing solutions with better performance to the market every two years. To keep up the momentum in this rapidly changing landscape, semiconductor manufacturers need to achieve shorter development cycles, faster time-to-market, and higher product yield that collectively contribute to the rapid product launches.

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.
Dr. Shay Wolfling, CTO
“We firmly believe in innovation and provide solutions that take the off-beat path of technology. We strive to create new channels of information and additional sources of data, challenging the preconceived standards in the industry. This is then combined with our unique modeling solutions, which include understanding the sample, structure, process, and more. Our strong mathematical modeling of machine learning and big data enables the customers to analyze and utilize the data, make use of multiple measurements, and implement it all in smart infrastructure,” Wolfling adds.

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.

Nova Measuring Instruments [NASDAQ: NVMI]

Rehovot, Israel

Zohar Gil, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer and Dr. Shay Wolfling, CTO

Nova is a leading innovator and key provider of dimensional and materials metrology solutions for advanced process control used in semiconductor manufacturing. Nova provides its customers with the vital process insight and clarity needed to produce cutting-edge semiconductor devices for the most advanced disruptive markets.Nova is a pioneer in industrializing X-ray and optical technologies for semiconductor inline process control, enabling advanced measuring of both dimensions and material properties throughout the fabrication lifecycle. We provide a full range of metrology solutions to solve the ever-increasing technical challenges arising in the semiconductor industry