August 15, 2006 – Ultratech Inc., San Jose, CA, has officially acquired certain assets of Oraxion Inc., a maker of surface-metrology and stress-analysis equipment for semiconductor and related industries, finalizing a nonbinding letter of intent signed in early July.
With the deal, Ultratech aims to pair up Oraxion’s CGS-300 wafer inspection and metrology tool with its LSA100 laser spike anneal system, targeting processing for 65nm and below generation devices. “This acquisition allows us to create a fusion of specific technologies that will add significant value to our advanced-device processing systems,” stated Arthur Zafiropoulo, Ultratech chairman and CEO.
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. Traditional tools (e.g. diameter-scan, or interferometers) 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 Oraxion’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.