July 3, 2006 – Ultratech Inc., San Jose, CA, a supplier of lithography and laser-processing systems, has entered into a nonbinding letter of intent to purchase the assets of Oraxion Inc., a startup developer of wafer stress metrology tools. Financial terms of the deal, which is subject to “the negotiation of definitive agreements and other standard conditions,” were not disclosed.
Formed in 2002, Oraxion sells wafer surface metrology and stress analysis equipment based on coherent gradient sensing technology developed at Caltech and MIT, which uses phase modulation of the signal to discern signal noise from patterning versus the local curvature information related to stress. The company’s flagship product, CGS-300, provides a 600,000-data-point map of the wafer surface slope, curvature and stress, with throughput of 15 wafers/hr, vs. other tools (e.g. diameter-scan, or interferometers) that typically produce wafer maps using 300 data points on a blanket film at a throughput of 2 wafers/hr, the company claims.
Much of the company’s top leadership comes from Applied Materials. Last summer Oraxion hired CEO Bang Nguyen, with experience at NuTool and Applied Materials’ copper plating group, as well as COO Jon Sabol, former VP and GM of Asyst Technologies’ equipment and fab solutions businesses. Larry Lei, VP of engineering, also spent many years at Applied Materials designing CVD chambers, etch chambers, compact CVD platform, integrated metrology, and advanced process control equipment.
Ultratech focuses on photolithography, particularly for IC packaging (e.g., gold and solder bump), as well as laser spike annealing technology.