Zeiss buying microscopy firm ALIS

July 19, 2006 – Carl Zeiss SMT has acquired all the shares of ALIS Corp., a developer of helium ion microscopy technology, from a group of financial backers and strategic investors, extending its portfolio of nanoscale measurement and probing technologies. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ALIS, a participant in the Technology Innovation Showcase at this year’s SEMICON West, has developed a new atomic-level helium ion microscopy technology that provides substantially better resolution and faster image acquisition than conventional methods, and may allow probing to much finer dimensions than SEMs or TEMs.

Slated to be officially unveiled later this month, the LookingGlass LG-2 uses helium ions in a beam as the imaging particles. Because ions can be focused into a smaller probe size and have less sample interaction, the system can generate higher-resolution images with more material contrast, and enable better detail than scanning electron microscopes, the company claims. The first production version of the microscope is now being assembled, with applications projected for defect review and CD measurement.

Dirk Stenkamp, managing director of Carl Zeiss’s Nano Technology Systems division, said the Alis platform will complement the company’s SEM technology, and become “a key element of our future technology roadmap,” offering “unrivalled opportunities for sub-nanometer imaging, depth-of-focus capabilities and new image contrast features.”


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