FLANDERS, USA: Rudolph Technologies Inc., a leading provider of process characterization equipment and software for the semiconductor, solar and LED industries, has received the first orders for its leading-edge defect inspection and latest generation thin film metrology tools capable of supporting integrated circuit manufacturing on 450 mm silicon wafers. The multiple systems ordered, scheduled for shipment in the second and third quarters of 2012, will be used to support the development of both new processes and process equipment.
“We are very pleased to be at the forefront of the transition to 450 mm wafers,” said Ardy Johnson, Rudolph’s VP of marketing and product management. “Although larger wafers ultimately reduce cost per device, they also increase cost per wafer and re-double the value of fast, accurate feedback about process performance. Working ‘in the trenches’ with device manufacturers as they develop these new processes will allow us to tune our technology to best meet their needs as they move toward a full production ramp, probably in the 2015 timeframe.”
Larger wafers allow manufacturers to put more devices on each wafer, increasing capacity while reducing costs. However, many aspects of the 450 mm manufacturing process are becoming more difficult to control, and will increase the value of inspection and metrology data to ensure improved process yields and profitability. The last change in wafer size occurred well over a decade ago, as the semiconductor industry moved from 200 mm to 300 mm wafers.