Monday, February 6, 2012

Rudolph enters new market for metrology in back-end packaging

FLANDERS, USA: Rudolph Technologies Inc., a leading provider of process characterization equipment and software for the semiconductor, LED and solar industries, has delivered the first MetaPULSE metrology system for measurements of under bump metallization (UBM) and redistribution layers (RDL) used in advanced packaging technologies in the back-end of the integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing process.

The MetaPULSE system is well-proven, long used for fast, accurate measurements of metal interconnect and other opaque materials in front-end wafer processing applications. Entry into back-end packaging opens a new application space for the MetaPULSE system with significant market potential. The first MetaPULSE tool for use in the back-end was shipped in Q4 2011 and has been installed at the customer’s site.

“We are taking a well-established technology into a new market―advanced packaging is a rapidly-growing area of IC manufacturing, and represents a significant market opportunity for advanced metrology systems,” stated Tim Kryman, Rudolph’s director of product management for metrology.

“This development is the culmination of an evaluation program we began well over a year ago,” adds Kryman. “Rudolph collaborated with a major IC manufacturer that anticipated the need for on-product metrology as decreasing feature sizes and increasing pattern densities introduced pattern-dependent deposition effects in their plating process. That collaboration was a success, and we are currently engaged with a number of other logic, memory and foundry customers to expand into additional critical back-end applications.”

IC manufacturers use RDL and UBM in advanced packaging processes to route increasingly numerous I/O signals between the circuit and the outside world. Pattern-dependent deposition effects that must be measured on patterned product wafers, rather than the unpatterned monitor wafers used in older process generations. Only the MetaPULSE system offers nondestructive measurements with the small spot size, speed and accuracy required for measurements on patterned wafers. Furthermore, it can measure each layer within the completed multilayer stack or separate layers as they are deposited.

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