SURVEY on TEM Carrier: Does the lab need SEMI standards like the Fab?

By Troy Morrison, director of Strategic Marketing, Semiconductor Materials and Structural Analysis, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Take two minutes of your time to complete TEM Carrier Questionnaire, designed to learn the opinions of the industry (and to obtain support for starting a corresponding SEMI Standards activity)  

Materials and device characterization serve the essential role of defining how an integrated circuit differs from its intended design and function.   Over the years, a variety of techniques based on probes of electrons, ions and photons have evolved to fill this need.   As difficult and complex as many of these techniques are, it is not uncommon to find them in the wafer fab cleanroom, or at least within an analytical laboratory adjacent to the fab.  Some of the sophisticated equipment found only in an R&D environment several years ago are now required tooling for the fab.

More specifically, demand for Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) in semiconductor manufacturing line is anticipated to grow exponentially due to advanced device designs which require process and defect control at the atomic scale.  In order to cope with this demand, TEM microscopy needs to be fast, automated and easy to use.  Today, TEM microscopy requires a human facilitated workflow across several pieces of equipment in order to generate the final data.





Source:  Thermo Fisher Scientific

The primary barrier to faster time to TEM data is manual operations including the manual transfer of TEM grids in between systems.  However, there are no standards today for TEM grids to help facilitate robust sample transport.  Standardization of TEM grids would allow a fully automated workflow, in addition to other benefits such as flexibility of tool selection and improved workflow efficiency.  

Can you imagine a world where a wafer fab operated with wafers that did not have SEMI Standards to help define form factors?  Can you imagine a world where the analytical lab had SEMI Standards to help guide lab operations along the same lines as our wafer fabs?  If you can imagine a world of standards for the lab, now is the time for your voice to be heard. 

Please take two minutes of your time to complete the SEMI questionnaire designed to test the opinion of the industry and to obtain support for starting a corresponding SEMI Standards activity. Please submit your feedback by June 30, 2017. TEM Carrier Questionnaire.  

For more information on SEMI International Standards, visit:

Global Update
June 13, 2017