MILPITAS, Calif., Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Today KLA-Tencor Corporation (NASDAQ: KLAC) announced the Archer ™ 500, a new overlay metrology system for leading-edge chip manufacturers. Designed to address the complex overlay challenges associated with single- and multi-patterning lithography techniques at advanced design nodes, the Archer 500 measures and characterizes overlay error with improved precision, accuracy and measurement speed compared to its predecessor, the widely adopted Archer 300. With significant contrast enhancements, the Archer 500 expands overlay measurement capability beyond current-generation lithography stacks to new lithography layers, including challenging thin resist stacks, and new materials such as opaque hard masks. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120905/SF67757) "In order to continue scaling devices to meet Moore's law, chip manufacturers are extending 193nm immersion lithography using multi-patterning techniques and are assessing non-traditional patterning technologies, such as directed self-assembly," said Noam Knoll, vice president and general manager of the Overlay Metrology Division at KLA-Tencor. "In addition to increasing the number of required overlay measurements, lithographers' adoption and exploration of double-, triple-, quadruple- and other innovative patterning techniques at shrinking design rules drive very strict overlay specifications. Our new Archer 500 and innovative multi-layer overlay measurement target support today's complex patterning processes by providing lithographers with highly precise, fast feedback on layer-to-layer and within-layer overlay error. We believe the Archer 500 will serve a key role in enabling complete lithography overlay control for these advanced patterning technologies." Within the lithography cell, the Archer 500 serves as an independent source of overlay metrology data. The Archer 500's fast measurement speed and high precision enable thorough overlay characterization on wafers after patterning to help verify that pattern features have been correctly aligned to previously-patterned features, located on either the same layer or a prior process layer. For high volume manufacturing, the Archer 500 is designed to identify wafers with overlay error exceeding the required specifications, helping lithographers accurately disposition wafers and decide when to address variations in process tool performance.