EV Group (EVG), a leading supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology and semiconductor markets, today introduced the NT series -- a new, yet already field-proven suite of mask aligners, wafer-to-wafer (W2W) bond aligners and measurement systems -- to address increased demand for higher precision alignment accuracy. The shift to smaller geometries along with more feature-dense packages adds a host of challenges, surrounding precision alignment capabilities, which can greatly impact device failure intolerance and, ultimately, yield and cost. The new EVG-NT series offers dramatically increased alignment accuracy -- in the range of 1 um down to 0.1 um -- for the manufacture of advanced MEMS, compound semiconductor, silicon-based power, 3D IC and nanotechnology devices -- unlike anything else on the market. First units of the new NT systems have already been installed at customer sites worldwide and passed the acceptance tests.
"Structural integrity and, ultimately, device performance is impacted by alignment inaccuracies throughout the production process, increasing the total cost of manufacturing," said Paul Lindner, EVG's executive technology director. "There are a host of variables to consider in the manufacturing process that can affect alignment accuracy -- including temperature and substrate materials -- and the movement to smaller, more feature-dense packages greatly exacerbates the problem. In fulfilling our commitment to enabling our customers, we have introduced the EVG-NT series to solve these issues. We're pleased to report that customers have already qualified our first systems in the field, and that data have confirmed our quoted specifications. This is testament to our triple 'i' philosophy of invent, innovate and implement, and we look forward to pushing the envelope in enabling next-generation manufacturing needs."
The EVG-NT series features next-generation alignment and measurement systems with significantly increased alignment precision. The series is composed of the following mask aligners, a W2W bond aligner, and an alignment measurement system.
Mask Aligners: EVG620NT and EVG6200NT
The EVG620NT and EVG6200NT mask aligners -- which handle sizes of substrates starting from less than 5 mm up to 150 mm and from 3 inches up to 200 mm, respectively -- offer new state-of-the-art features, including a granite base, active vibration isolation and linear motors to meet higher precision and throughput requirements. Built upon EVG's most flexible and versatile aligner platforms, these new systems enable manufacturers to easily scale between R&D efforts to volume manufacturing in a simple one-to-one process transfer from manual mode to full automation. The ramp-up ease to volume manufacturing coupled with alignment accuracies improvements -- down to 0.1 um -- deliver significant cost-of-ownership (CoO) benefits.
W2W Bonder Aligner: SmartViewNT
Multiple wafer stacking and bonding processes require an alignment accuracy of <1 um. To meet this challenge, the SmartViewNT utilizes a revolutionary high-precision alignment stage that comprises top- and bottom-side microscopes to ensure the highest degree of accuracy. This versatile bond aligner can also handle all types of alignments, including W2W, backside and infrared transparent. Initial results for W2W alignments demonstrated <0.3 um face-to-face alignment accuracy, eliminating the need for post-processing steps such as generating backside alignment keys and double-sided polishing -- enabling lower CoO. In a side-by-side comparison of the SmartViewNT to its predecessor, alignment accuracies increased by more than 60%, 300%, and 40% for SmartView, backside and transparent alignments, respectively -- enabling the system to effectively address stringent precision requirements.
Alignment Measurement System: EVG40NT
The EVG40NT is designed to perform highly accurate non-destructive alignment accuracy measurement of single- and double-sided structured wafers, as well as bond interfaces. This new system overcomes the limitation of conventional double-view microscope and infrared systems, which rely on a cumbersome and time-consuming procedure to calibrate the optical axis. The EVG40NT is a highly flexible tool that can quickly provide an unlimited number of measurement points across the wafer surface. Compared to the previous generation, the NT series' throughput improves up to five fold, offering 200-300 measurements per hour. Additionally, while process dependent, results have shown a 60% accuracy increase producing a measurement accuracy of <0.2 um. These results are highly repeatable and reproducible with a statistic probability of >99%.
EVG reports that each system from its NT family has already been installed and qualified by leading-edge manufacturers globally.
Editors interested in learning more about the new NT suite of tools are invited to visit EVG's booth located in Hall 4A, Booth #206 at SEMICON Japan 2008 held December 3-5 in Chiba, Japan.