Multiple systems will be used to provide performance feedback and qualification data for development of new processes
Flanders, New Jersey - Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC), a leading provider of process characterization equipment and software for the semiconductor, solar and LED industries, announced today it 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 vice president 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.
"I think we learned a great deal from the transition to 300 mm," added Johnson. "There seems to be a broad commitment to cooperation within the industry, with the burden of development being shared equitably by both device and equipment manufacturers. We are working very hard to transfer our technology as directly as possible to the larger wafer size so that we minimize the learning curve for our customers. We are optimistic that the move to 450 mm will be well coordinated and relatively painless."
Rudolph Technologies, Inc. is a worldwide leader in the design, development, manufacture and support of defect inspection, process control metrology, and data analysis systems and software used by semiconductor device manufacturers worldwide. Rudolph provides a full-fab solution through its families of proprietary products that provide critical yield-enhancing information, enabling microelectronic device manufacturers to drive down the costs and time to market of their products. The company's yield management solutions are used in both the wafer processing and final manufacturing of ICs, as well as in emerging markets such as LED and Solar. Headquartered in Flanders, New Jersey, Rudolph supports its customers with a worldwide sales and service organization. Additional information can be found on the company's web site at www.rudolphtech.com.