New In-line Capability Provides Accelerated Probe Test Failure Analysis and Lower Cost of Ownership

Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC), a worldwide leader in process characterization solutions for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, today announced that the NSX® Series wafer inspection system now includes WaferWoRx® probing process analysis. The NSX Series can now identify the root cause of probe test failure mechanisms, providing faster problem resolution and improved yield performance.

“The probing process analysis capability of the WaferWoRx was a key factor in our decision to acquire Applied Precision’s Semiconductor Division in 2007,” said Paul F. McLaughlin, Rudolph’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We are pleased to announce the successful integration of WaferWoRx with our industry-leading NSX inspection platform, and we consider this milestone a testament to the success of the acquisition.”

The NSX System detects probe marks and generates location and size information as well as other parameters. WaferWoRx converts what has been a manual and time-consuming process of gathering scrub data from various tools, correlating the data, and then sifting through for trends to an automated data collection and analysis completed in a single step. WaferWoRx further enhances the process, breaking the overall probing error into its core components (prober, probe card, setup), enabling rapid problem resolution. It can also pre-qualify test cells without risk to production wafers and evaluate the readiness of the probing process for advanced technologies such as multi-DUT and high pin count probe cards. Finally, probe card performance can be tracked to predict the need for maintenance, thereby extending card life and maximizing card availability while avoiding the yield losses that can occur when a card fails during use.

According to Darren James, product manager for probe card test and analysis at Rudolph, “We have streamlined the approach to probing process analysis. What was once an off-line, one-off procedure that required extra time and equipment is now part of a high-throughput in-line system that can be used to identify the root cause of the failure and accelerate its resolution.”

The NSX Series provides fast, repeatable, advanced macro inspection to detect defects created during wafer manufacturing, probing, bumping, and dicing or through general handling. Macro defects (0.5 micron and larger) can have a major impact on the quality of a microelectronic device and the yield of the manufacturing process. The NSX uses high speed optical microscopy to identify defective probe marks. This same optical characterization data from a well-designed sample of probe marks serves as the input to the WaferWoRx analysis module for processing and further identification of the error components.

The WaferWoRx probe process analysis capability is available now on the NSX Series, and can be ordered as an upgrade for the NSX 100, NSX 105 or NSX 115 models.

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