November 20, 2019 – Nearfield Instruments B.V. of Rotterdam, the Netherlands has secured Series B funding with participation from Eugene Investment & Securities Co., Ltd and Scylla Technologies Inc. acting as general partners of the Eugene-Scylla NFI New Technology Business Investment Fund, and existing investors Innovation Industries and Samsung Venture Investment Corporation. The funding will be used to introduce to the market its first product, a High-Throughput Scanning Probe Metrology (HT-SPM) system for metrology of advanced IC’s. Furthermore, the funding enables Nearfield Instruments to grow its production capacity and initiate the development of the second metrology product in its portfolio. Nearfield Instruments is a spin-off of the Netherlands Organisation for applied-scientific Research TNO. TNO will remain a shareholder in Nearfield Instruments.
High Throughput and 3D Angstrom Precision
For the past 50 years the semiconductor industry has marched at the pace of Moore’s Law: doubling the computing power of a chip every two years whereas simultaneously chips have become cheaper to manufacture. To achieve new functionalities and to make optimum use of the available wafer space, IC devices will shrink to atomic scale dimensions using novel, complex designs, energy-sensitive and opaque materials, 3D structures and multiple stacked features. This leads to several new challenges in process control metrology as the chip features now will need non-destructive characterization in 3D at high throughput, even on the device level.
Nearfield Instruments’ High Throughput Scanning Probe Metrology system (HT-SPM) enables direct measurement of process control parameters that are either very hard to measure with other techniques or only in a destructive manner or at very low throughput. Specifically measuring the 3D shape of high-aspect ratio features at angstrom level precision with substantial increase in throughput is enabled by Nearfield Instruments’ first product. Moreover, Nearfield Instruments’ patented revolutionary metrology architecture can solve major next-generation metrology challenges introduced by the change from 2D to 3D chip features, which lead to very high aspect ratio multilayered structures, wafer stress driven bow and vertical gate dimension control issues. Nearfield Instruments’ area of focus is semiconductor wafer fabs and includes both Process Window Discovery and Process Window Expansion & Control.
High-Tech Innovation Ecosystem
Managing Directors of Nearfield Instruments, Dr. Hamed Sadeghian and Dr. Roland van Vliet comment: “It is a joyous coincidence we can announce this important investment together with the opening of our state-of-the-art manufacturing and system integration cleanroom facility. The support and commitment of our new partner Eugene Investment & Securities together with our existing shareholders Innovation Industries, Samsung Venture Investment Corporation and TNO Tech Transfer provides us all at Nearfield Instruments with the right expertise and momentum to strengthen the foundation and realize the growth of our company. Our development partners and Nearfield Instruments, a true innovation ecosystem, will continuously deliver and develop highly innovative solutions to the complex atom-scale process control challenges the semiconductor manufacturing industry encounters in its continuous strive towards even more powerful and lower power-consuming electronics.”