OBH to buy Plasma-Therm; deal adds to semiconductor tool base

Following the sale of its real estate and shoe division, Oerlikon-Bührle Holding AG (OBH) is focused on cutting a path for itself in the semiconductor industry and hopes that its newest acquisition of Plasma-Therm, Inc., St. Petersburg, FL, will lead the way.

By Christine Lunday, Online Editor

In a move that will allow it to bolster offerings with integrated metrology capabilities, ASM International N.V., Bilthoven, The Netherlands, has purchased a 24% interest in NanoPhotonics AG, a Mainz, Germany, maker of precision thin film metrology tooling. The firm also plans to deliver its first 300mm vertical furnace equipped with integrated metrology early this year.

Under ongoing collaboration between NanoPhotonics and ASMI, the firms have added NanoPhotonics' ultra-compact ellipsometer, dubbed the Ellipson, into ASMI's 300mm furnace. Further development work is on tap, according to Albert Hasper, ASMI's worldwide product manager for vertical furnaces, who says customers are eyeing integrated metrology as a way to lower costs per wafer by improving throughput and cycle times, reducing usage of test wafers, and potentially, enhancing yields. This is particularly true at the 300mm production mark, where the cost of wafers is intimidating to many a fab manager.


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