Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC), a leading provider of process characterization equipment and software for wafer fabs and advanced packaging facilities, announced that the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT) in Germany has placed an order for an NSX® Series Macro Inspection System for advanced MEMS processing. The system will be installed this summer in the state-of-the-art 200 mm MEMS pilot production line at ISIT.
“We are pleased to continue working with ISIT on next-generation MEMS processes,” said Hartmut Seeger, sales manager for Rudolph in Europe. “ISIT evaluated the NSX System along with several other inspection systems for this application. Acceptance of this tool confirms that the investments we have made to address unique MEMS inspection requirements, including the challenge of wafer handling, are meeting our customers’ needs.”
The ISO 9001:2008-certified production environment at ISIT enables the development of advanced MEMS devices for inertial, RF and electro-optical applications with the required application-specific packaging technology at the wafer level. The functional integration of extremely small features requires automatic defect inspection at small dimensions with high throughput and limited effect on the wafers. Hermetic wafer level vacuum packaging (with integrated getter) requires an inspection tool that is highly flexible in both hardware and software features.
“Silicon and glass cap wafers are not only fragile, but have deep cavities and sensitive features on both sides of the wafer, requiring a unique wafer handling concept,” said Dr. Wolfgang Reinert, team leader-advanced electronic packaging, Fraunhofer ISIT. “The cap wafer inspection results need to be mirrored and interfaced with the ISIT final electrical test equipment for single device traceability and inkless assembly.”
Sascha Mühlmann, MEMS engineer, Fraunhofer ISIT, added, “The capabilities of Rudolph’s Discover® all-surface defect analysis and data management software on the NSX platform support these tasks during the device development phase and after the technology transfer to MEMS pilot production.”
The NSX Series is a fast, repeatable macro defect inspection solution used throughout the semiconductor device manufacturing process. Macro defects can be created during wafer manufacturing, probing, bumping, dicing, or by general handling, and can have a major impact on the quality of a microelectronic device. The NSX, specifically designed for back-end manufacturing and often selected by automotive device manufacturers for 100 percent inspection, can handle whole wafers and thinned wafers on film frames. It can quickly and accurately detect yield-inhibiting defects to provide quality assurance and valuable process information.
With this order from Fraunhofer ISIT, the installed base of Rudolph Technologies’ NSX Systems totals over 600 worldwide.