Rudolph Technologies Inc. of Flanders, N.J., announced that it is the first semiconductor equipment supplier to join Sematech's metrology program at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), located at the University at Albany. Under the membership agreement, Rudolph, a provider of process-characterization equipment and software for thin-film measurement and macro-defect inspection, and Sematech, a consortium of chipmakers, will jointly establish an International Process Characterization (IPC) program to focus on integrated metrology, inspection and yield-enhancement software solutions to address critical process characterization challenges for semiconductor manufacturing at the 32-nm technology generation and beyond. The IPC program, which brings together expert researchers and technologists and critical tools and software, will serve as a foundation to Sematech's expanding metrology programs at the CNSE's Albany NanoTech Complex. Rudolph will team with Sematech's members and the members of ISMI (International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative) to accelerate the development and application of measurement methods for advanced semiconductor technologies. The initial IPC program addresses the metrology of thin films and metal gate stacks; wafer front, back, and edge macro-defect inspection; inspection and metrology for through silicon vias (TSV) and 3-D integrated circuits (3DIC); immersion lithography process characterization; process modeling and optimization for yield enhancement; and automatic defect classification (ADC). The program also aims to establish benchmarks for cost-effective solutions by including cost-of-ownership criteria in all projects.