Category Archives: New Products

Jordan Valley Semiconductors Ltd., a supplier of X-ray based metrology tools for advanced semiconductor manufacturing lines, received another order for its recently introduced JVX7300LMI scanning X-ray in-line metrology tool for patterned and blanket wafers.  The system has been purchased for advanced process development and production ramp-up for 14nm and 10nm nodes.

The tool provides fully automated advanced metrology for epitaxial materials such as SiGe, Si:C/P and III-V on silicon FinFET structures, as well as high-k and metal gate stacks and other critical layers.

Isaac Mazor, JV CEO, said: “We are pleased to have been selected by key customers to support their FEOL (Front-End-Of-Line) process metrology.  This selection represents the customers’ confidence in Jordan Valley’s ability to provide valuable metrology solutions for their most demanding advanced applications, trusting first principle X-ray based metrology to provide unique process control solutions.”

Mazor added, “Advanced logic devices set new metrology challenges and requirements for key transistor level structure such as FinFET, Ge and III/V materials on silicon, as well as high-k and metal gate stacks used to enhance the transistor performance. Jordan Valley was able to meet the customers’ stringent process requirements in a short period of development time.”

“In choosing the JVX7300LMI platform, the customers acknowledged the significant contribution of the product in shortening the process development cycle, coupled with enabling process performance and extendibility to future technology nodes.” Mazor concluded, “We believe that the JVX7300LMI can be a strong contributor to assure high yield in the current and next generation process nodes.”

The JVX7300LMI is an X-ray metrology system for 14nm and 10nm nodes R&D and production ramp for FEOL applications such as SiGe, Si:C/P, FinFETs, high-k/metal gate and replacement channel materials such as Ge and III-V layers on Si. It is also used for the development and production of the emerging GaN on Si market.


This tool enables scanning HRXRD, XRR and (GI)XRD measurements. HRXRD is capable of measuring epitaxial layer composition, thickness, density, strain and relaxation of single and multi-layer stacks. Additionally, with XRR and (GI)XRD channels, the tool provides information on the thickness, density, phase and crystallinity of ultra-thin layers typically used in the FEOL process. Unlike optical or spectroscopic tools, the HRXRD and XRR are first principle techniques that deliver accurate and precise results without calibration.

Primoceler, a microfabrication company specializing in laser micro welding and scribing of transparent materials, has developed the first sapphire-to-sapphire welding process.

“At Primoceler, we constantly expand technological boundaries,” said Ville Hevonkorpi, Primoceler’s managing director. “We were the first to weld glass to glass, glass to silicon and now sapphire to sapphire. Sapphire-to-sapphire welding is even more difficult than glass-to-glass welding, and no one has been able to do it before.”

Sapphire’s cost-effectiveness, durability, high melting point, chemical inertness, transparency and capacity for optical transmission in visible, ultra-violet and near-infrared light make it a highly desirable material in several industries. For example, because of the material’s resistance to heat and chemical erosion, sapphire substrates are currently used in the manufacturing of many LEDs for mobile handsets, televisions, automobile headlights and general lighting. “Now that we have developed this totally new technology, we’re anticipating that it will open new possibilities for industries, just as our glass-glass welding technology did,” said Hevonkorpi.

Hevonkorpi was referring to one of Primoceler’s previous innovations, a laser micro welding methodology that produced an extremely small heat-affected zone (HAZ), expanding the potential for packaging fragile components, including under or inside glass, which had been a challenge for manufacturers. “We recently learned the benefits of glass to welding glass in medical devices,” he continued. “As glass is transparent to infrared light and radio frequency waves, it makes new kind of implants possible. Also glass is highly bio-compatible and so better for patients.”

Sapphire has also yielded a great deal of benefits for medical devices. As an optical material, its durability is second only to diamond, which, in addition to the fact that it is chemically inert and non-thrombogenic (will not cause blood clots), makes it an excellent material for surgical tools, implants, braces as well as endoscopes and laser windows.

“Sapphire is widely used in sensors, different types of lenses and other devices, so there is a range of potential for this new technology,” said Hevonkorpi. “Companies that use sapphire for their products will come to us with ideas of how sapphire-to-sapphire welding technology can benefit them. We always welcome customers to challenge us and test their products.”

The machine that Primoceler developed for the new process is somewhat similar to the laser-based welding machine previously created to produce a small HAZ. The new machine contains a fiber laser unit specially optimized for the welding process by Corelase and also features software and components developed in-house.

Transistors in ultra-high definition displays (UHD) possess particularly fine structures. Only extremely pure sputtering targets are suitable for use as the input materials for the fine conductor paths. “UHD-ready” will be the motto when Plansee present their ultra-pure coating materials at Touch Taiwan.

Ultra-high definition is a digital video format that transmits images at widths of up to 4000 pixels. Display manufacturers are now supplying the necessary hardware in the form of UHD screens. The advent of UHD technology is bringing with it more stringent requirements with respect to the purity of the materials used, such as molybdenum.

Molybdenum is a key component of the layer system in a thin film transistor and helps to determine the color with which an LED is illuminated. There are several million of these transistors in a single UHD screen. Ulrich Lausecker, Head of the Coating Business Unit at Plansee explains: “Any foreign particle in the thin film material is huge in relation to the fine transistor structures. Even the slightest contamination of the molybdenum layer can cause whole pixels to fail.”

The company is one of the leading manufacturers of molybdenum sputtering targets. When processed, these targets form key layers in the transistor system. Plansee is the only manufacturer to supply molybdenum at a guaranteed purity of 99.97 percent. As a rule, the material is even purer than this. Which means that Plansee’s sputtering targets are ready for ultra-high definition technology.

In-house production guarantees the highest levels of material purity

This is made possible by the proprietary production process. At Plansee, this starts with molybdenum trioxide, in other words shortly after the ore has been processed. In-house reduction processes then allow to convert this to extremely pure molybdenum powder. And Plansee is also responsible for further downstream process steps such as pressing, sintering and forming sputtering targets. Before the sputtering targets are delivered to the customers, Plansee bond them in their own machine shops in Asia.

Because all the production steps are kept in house, Plansee is able to control the quality of the material right from the start in a way that no other target manufacturer can.

“Even the raw material itself comes from part of our family,” said Lausecker. “The Plansee Group has a 14 percent stake in the Chilean company Molymet, the largest molybdenum ore processor in the world.”

PI (Physik Instrumente) L.P., a manufacturer of nanopositioning equipment — offers the LPS-45 series of piezo positioning stages manufactured by PI subsidiary PI miCos.

This low profile linear translation stage is driven by a PIshift inertia-type piezo motor. The closed-loop stage is equipped with a high precision optical linear encoder providing for nanometer-level repeatability. An open-loop version and vacuum compatible and non-magnetic versions are also offered.

The PIShift piezo inertia drive is very quiet, due to its high operating frequency of 20 kHz. It provides high holding forces of 10 N. The drive principle works similar to the classic tablecloth trick, a cyclical alternation of static and sliding friction between a moving runner and the drive element.

When at rest, the maximum clamping force is available, with no holding current and consequently no heat generation.

PI provides a large variety of nanopositioning stages, based on several piezo-motor techniques, as well as classical electromagnetic drives.

Despite the very low profile of only 0.8” (20 mm) and compact dimensions, the stage offers a standard travel range of 30 mm (1.2”) and can be scaled up for longer travels, if needed.

PI’s precision linear translation stages are of great value for precision alignment in photonics, semiconductor, bio/nanotech applications as well as in scientific research.

PI (Physik Instrumente) presents the E-482, a new high-power amplifier providing 6 kW peak power with an energy saving power recovery design.

The E-482 is useful for a multitude of fast actuation and switching applications such as adaptive structures and mechanisms, precision tool servos, fatigue testing, quality control purposes or highly dynamic control of piezo driven valves in test stands.

The E-482 comes a 19-inch rack-mount chassis and can be upgraded to a full closed-loop system by means of the E-509 servo-control module. The piezo driver is designed for the operation of large, high-capacitance piezo actuators. The class D switching amplifier controls the piezo output voltage by modulating the pulse width of the control signal. When the piezo actuator is discharged, a patented energy recovery circuitry stores the returning energy in a capacitor and makes it reusable for the next charging cycle. Despite its very sink/source current of 6A (peak, 2A avg.) and a voltage swing of up to 1050V (unipolar and bipolar) this amplifier achieves very high efficiency, accounting to energy savings up to up to 80 percent compared with traditional piezo drivers. Another benefit is significantly reduced heat dissipation.

The PI group provides a portfolio of piezo motion control solutions for markets as diverse as semiconductor manufacturing, bio-technology, photonics, aerospace and medical engineering. PI has 4 decades of experience with the design and manufacture of precision positioning systems based on piezoceramic and electromagnetic drives. The company has been ISO 9001 certified since 1994 and provides innovative, high-quality solutions for OEM and research. PI is present worldwide with 10 subsidiaries, R&D / engineering on 3 continents and total staff of 750+.

DAS Environmental Expert GmbH of Dresden, Germany, has developed SALIX, a point-of-use system for removing waste gas pollutants in semiconductor wafer manufacturing wet bench applications. This solves a common problem where gases from the solvents, acids and alkaline materials used in wet processing combine to form a powder in the exhaust line. This powder can be a “toxic bomb” according to Dr. Horst Reichardt, CEO and president of DAS, or at least cause throughput and cost issues since the exhaust may have to be cleaned every one to two days.

The single-wafer cleaning process widely used for cleaning 300-millimeter wafers in wet benches distributes cleaning agents onto rapidly spinning single wafers and spins them off at the edge where baffle plates within the system collect the water, acidic and alkaline chemicals, and volatile solvents (the process for cleaning 200-millimeter wafers immerses the entire cassette). A large fab may have 20-30 such wet benches. With up to 12 stations per wet bench and exhaust from each chamber requiring several exhaust systems, the SALIX scrubber eliminates the need for elaborate change-over modules to avoid deposition in the pipes. It is more cost-effective and efficient at preventing clogging than conventional approaches used to separate and extract the acids, alkalines and solvents in the exhausts which require separate suction to prevent particle buildup and condensation within the pipes.

In contrast, SALIX removes the harmful substances from the gas stream directly at their point of origin using a two-stage scrubber process of chemical and physical absorption, and can treat up to 3600 m3/h of raw gas. Separate inlets feed the harmful gases from the wet bench process chambers into a SALIX pre-scrubber that pre-cleans the gas using spray nozzles. Next the waste gases pass into the first scrubber stage and then a second stage that uses a different scrubbing liquid. The remaining clean gas then can be released safely into the air without any danger to the technology or the environment. Because the SALIX system does not require any air dilution, the clean air remains in the clean room, further reducing cost.

Dr. Guy Davies, director of the Waste Gas Abatement business unit at DAS Environmental Expert explained, “When a global foundry based in Taiwan came to us seeking a better solution to treat water-soluble exhaust gases from a wet bench application, we installed SALIX as a first-of-its-kind point-of-use system. It has been running there since January of this year and, after six months of operation, emissions measurements show zero harmful substances in the exhaust. One SALIX system per wet bench is all that’s needed, and just one pipe for the cleaned exhaust. Salix “offers a smaller footprint with no switching boxes needed, and is far more cost-effective and efficient than central scrubbers for treating processes that create water-soluble waste gases. We believe our proven SALIX solution, which is SEMI S2 international and German TA-Luft standards compliant, opens new markets for point-of-use scrubbers in the semiconductor, LED, PV and FPD industries. In fact, we have seen increasing interest in SALIX and already have received multiple inquiries from U.S. customers. In addition, we are using the evaluation results for further process-based optimization and have developed a custom fit bypass function that will enable production to continue with no interruption.

DAS also announced it has added Technica, U.S.A. as a new local service partner to deliver faster response time for service and maintenance for U.S. customers.

ROFIN, a manufacturer of industrial lasers and laser systems enters the semiconductor market with a turnkey solution for front-end-of-line (FEOL) processing. The new laser wafer processing system Waferlase 200/300/450, is a fully automated modular platform comprising a market-leading handling system for (ultra) thin semiconductor wafers and a choice of laser processing modules, depending on the type of application. The Waferlase 200/300/450 product family starts with solutions for IGBT laser annealing and debris-free wafer marking.

Leading ultra-thin wafer handling technology

ROFIN integrated top-notch wafer handling technology to provide precise, non-contact transportation of ultra-thin wafers, even with considerable warpage and bow. The system comes with two or more cassette ports for Open Cassette or FOUP wafer carrier systems. Integrated scanners detect the exact position of the wafer in its carrier. The comprehensive but easy-to-use system software controls slot allocation, wafer warpage measurement, wafer location as well as wafer ID detection, and would even change the pick-and-place sequence automatically in case of a wafer damage threat, e.g. due to extensive or opposite bowing of neighboring wafers. A high-end dual-arm robot takes care of wafer loading and unloading. The pre-aligner module centers and aligns the wafer. A “vacuum handshake” between end-effector and pre-aligner, including wafer safeguard, secures damage-free handling of the wafer back side. Thus, high-end technology and sophisticated software control integrated in ROFIN’s Waferlase 200/300/450 guarantees highest throughput at negligible wafer breakage rates.

IGBT laser annealing

The Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) market is constantly growing because of significant advantages IGBTs offer compared to other transistor devices such as high voltage capability, low ON-resistance, ease of drive, fast switching speeds, robustness, etc.

One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increasing demand in automotive and industrial applications, including renewable energy, communications, medical, lighting and transportation.

IGBTs are manufactured on mechanically thinned wafers with a typical thickness of 100μm or less. In order to establish a field stop and/or emitter layer on the rear side of the wafer, deep-implanted doping elements (like phosphorous or boron) have to be activated through a high-temperature annealing process towards the end of the FEOL process chain. Very often, the sensitive devices on the wafer front side are protected by an attached tape. Due to low damage temperatures of the tape, the heat-sensitivity of the front side devices, as well as a non-uniform heat distribution in the processing chamber, conventional oven activation is characterized by low activation levels and rates. ROFIN’s laser annealing process has been developed to overcome these issues and to provide significantly higher process stability and yield at competitive costs/wafer levels. Laser annealing deep-activates the dopants and simultaneously prevents damage to the wafer front side and the protection tape. The laser allows for precise depth control of the field stop and/or emitter layer activation in the range of up to 2μm. With activation rates exceeding 90 percent, ROFIN’s IGBT laser annealing solution is far superior to conventional methods.

Wafer marking

ROFIN’s Waferlaser 200/300/450 systems produce traceable markings on transparent, semitransparent and opaque wafer materials. Two methods – hard and debris-free marking – are used which differ in terms of process, depth and location of the mark. Debris-free marking in clean-room environment is achieved solely by melting of the silicon wafer surface.

ROFIN’s new patent-pending marking technology allows the user to precisely control the marking depth ranging from less than 1μm to 7μm. The debris-free marking process uses a tailor-made IC–marking laser source with 532nm wavelength. This dedicated solution achieves high contrast with excellent performance at small character heights.

Building on its extensive microscope lineup, KEYENCE Corporation has released a new multipurpose microscope. The VHX-700F allows users to leverage some of the advanced functions of the VHX Series, such as Depth Composition and 3D Display, while offering the same image quality and primary measurement capabilities at a lower price point.

The VHX-700F incorporates observation, measurement, and image recording capabilities into a single device, while offering all of the imaging techniques found in traditional inspection equipment. The microscope boasts a 0.1x – 5,000x magnification range and provides bright field, dark field, and transmitted illumination. Additional attachments offer polarized, diffused, and DIC imaging methods. Users can also inspect inside of small openings with a complete lineup of borescopes and fiberscopes.

By combining the technology generally found in stereoscopic, metallurgical, measurement, and scanning electron microscopes, the VHX-700F is able to accentuate the strengths of these systems while avoiding many of their limitations. Not only can images be captured entirely in focus with the exceptionally large depth-of-field, but a variety of measurements can be completed directly on the image with just a click of the mouse. A multi-angle stand is paired with a rotating stage to allow 360 degree views without the need to fixture or manipulate the sample, and the camera easily detaches for handheld, non-destructive imaging of larger parts.

Olympus this week announced the release of the LEXT OLS4100 laser confocal microscope system. Designed to deliver nanometer-level imaging, accurate 3D measurement, and outstanding surface roughness analysis, the OLS4100 features auto brightness and a new high-speed stitching mode.


Engineered to meet a growing demand for increased measurement precision and wider observation applicability, the OLS4100 offers advanced measurement performance at ten-nanometer resolution with a variety of user-friendly performance parameters. Thanks to high numerical apertures and a dedicated optical system that obtains maximum performance from a 405 nm laser, the OLS4100 can reliably measure acute-angled samples that were previously impossible to measure.

“Widely used in quality control, research, and development across an array of industries and applications, OLYMPUS LEXT laser microscopes set a new standard in 3D laser microscopy,” said Matt Smith, Olympus director of sales and marketing. “Today, with the LEXT OLS4100, Olympus is once again raising the bar with a new level of precision and ease of use.”

The OLS4100’s auto brightness setting is part of an automatic 3D image acquisition system that allows even first-time users to quickly acquire 3D images with the click of a button, greatly reducing image acquisition time. A new high-speed stitching mode allows the user to specify target areas from wider-area stitched images. 

The OLS4100 employs a dual confocal system that, when combined with its high-sensitivity detector, enables the capture of clear images from samples consisting of materials with different reflectance characteristics. In addition to the laser image, the OLS4100 uses a white LED light and a high-color-fidelity CCD camera to generate clear, natural-looking color imagery comparable with that obtained with high-grade optical microscopes. This color image can be overlaid upon the 3D laser image for a 3D representation of your sample.

The OLS4100’s new multilayer mode is capable of recognizing the peaks of reflected light intensities of multiple sample layers and setting each layer as a focal point, making it possible to observe and measure the upper and lower surfaces of a sample with a transparent coating. This multilayer mode also facilitates the observation and measurement of multiple layers of transparent materials.

Calibrated in the same way as contact surface roughness gauges, the OLS4100 represents a new level of surface roughness measuring and adheres to the necessary roughness parameters and filters required per ISO and JQA. This allows users with contact surface roughness gauges to obtain output results from the OLS4100 consistent with their existing instruments, with the advantage of greater speed and non-contact measurement.

Engineered with easy operation in mind, the OLS4100 facilitates a systematic workflow through an intuitive interface that allows even novice users to quickly master measurement procedures. A wide range of measurement modes are available, each designed to efficiently enable specific analysis results. No pre-processing of samples is necessary.

3M announced today it is in the final stages of scale-up for its new 3M Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF). The new film allows up to 50 percent more color than current levels in liquid crystal display (LCD) devices.  3M has teamed with Nanosys, Inc., to produce the 3M QDEF solution specifically to deliver more color, and to make devices such as smart phones, tablets and televisions, lighter, brighter and more energy efficient.

QDEF to bring 50% more color to LCD devices

Current LCDs typically are limited to displaying 35 percent or less of the visible color spectrum. This means the viewing experience on an LCD can be vastly different than what a person sees in the real world.  Wide color gamut displays will allow consumers to enjoy more visceral, more immersive and truer-to-life color.

“One of the many advantages of the new 3M QDEF solution is the film’s ability to deliver richly-saturated colors, while minimizing power consumption – a difference you can clearly see,” said Ty Silberhorn, vice president and general manager, 3M Optical Systems Division. “We will have qualification material available to customers for design cycles starting late second quarter this year.”

Over the years, 3M light management technologies have made LCDs thinner, lighter and more energy efficient. Color performance of LCDs industry-wide has gone largely unchanged until now.  3M research data shows that devices with 3M QDEF-enabled wide color gamut will be noticeably different from other standard LCD devices, prompting the human eye to dwell on the display longer than less-saturated displays.

QDEF utilizes the light emitting properties of quantum dots to create an ideal backlight for LCDs, which is one of the most critical factors in the color and efficiency performance of LCDs. A quantum dot, which is 10,000 times narrower than a human hair, can be tuned to emit light at very precise wavelengths. This means display makers can create a highly-optimized backlight that only produces the exact wavelengths of red, green and blue light needed by an LCD for optimal color and energy performance. Trillions of these quantum dots protected by barrier film fit inside an LCD backlight unit. The new film replaces one already found inside LCD backlights, which means the manufacturing process requires no new equipment or process changes for the LCD manufacturer.

“Improving color performance for LCDs with simple, drop-in manufacturing solutions will create a stunning new visual experience for consumers,” said Jason Hartlove, president and CEO, Nanosys, Inc. “Working together with 3M and utilizing their outstanding design and supply chain capabilities will allow our quantum dot technology to be widely deployed across all product segments, ensuring availability to all customers.”

Both 3M and Nanosys, Inc., will attend Society of Information Display’s DisplayWeek, May 21 – 23, 2013, in Vancouver, British Columbia.