The success of the semiconductor industry's quest for contamination-free manufacturing depends heavily on the continued evolution of wafer scanners and other analytical instruments. The ability to characterize (rather than simply detect) a contaminant particle on a surface using light scattering techniques would be utilized by future instruments. The research described in this article provides a fundamental knowledge base necessary for particle characterization using laser-based light scattering. An algorithm to provide some discrimination of both particle size and composition was developed and demonstrated.

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