Single-Reticle Pod transports and stores 150 mm reticles.

Press Release Summary:



RSP-150 SMIF-POD(TM) features metal-free, gasket-sealed construction minimizing opacity, particle contamination, and drying time, while maximizing cleanability without disassembly. Streamlined design increases storage density. Optional AdvanTag(TM) tracking system with integrated RFID ties into socket built into unit to enable snap-on use of RFID transponder pill. For use in 300 mm fabs, optional CoolCase(TM) material provides flame and smoke retardance.



Original Press Release:



Asyst Introduces Industry's Most Advanced Single-Reticle SMIF-POD for Transport, Shipping and Storage of 150mm Lithography Reticles



Asyst RSP-150's New Design, Ultrapure Material Deliver Unprecedented transparency, Static Prevention and Storage Density, Plus Full Complement of Advanced Options

FREMONT, Calif.-July 18, 2002-Asyst Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: ASYT), a leading provider of integrated automation solutions that maximize semiconductor manufacturing productivity, today unveiled the industry's most advanced reticle-handling solution to date-the Asyst RSP-150. A breakthrough in handling valuable lithography reticles for the latest semiconductor technology node, this innovative 150mm Reticle SMIF - Pod(tm) further advances Asyst's market leadership in reticle handling. Seamlessly interoperable with older-generation 150mm single-reticle pods, the RSP-150 incorporates many new features-including cleaner, safer reticle transport and storage, and higher storage density-to provide state-of-the-art support for production and management of photomasks used in the manufacture of semiconductor wafers up to 300mm in diameter.

Fully compliant with Semiconductor Equipment and Materials
International's (SEMI's) recently released 150RSP standard-which Asyst was instrumental in developing-the RSP-150 employs a proprietary ultra-pure material that was co-developed by Asyst and a leading resin supplier to meet users' demands for a reticle pod that delivers not only high performance static dissipation, but also high transparency. The pod's metal-free, gasket-sealed construction minimizes opacity, particle contamination and drying time, while maximizing cleanability,
all without disassembly. In addition, the RSP-150's streamlined design enables a nearly 2x improvement in storage density, and its unique retention system keeps the reticle securely in place-making it the first single-reticle pod that can be used to ship reticles, as well as transport and store them within the fab.

Currently in pre-production, the Asyst RSP-150 has produced favorable results in beta testing performed by a number of leading lithography OEMs and chipmakers. The company reports that multiple customers have already placed production orders for the product. Production shipments of the RSP-150 are expected to commence in August.

Key Capabilities Include Host of Advanced Options
Particle sensitivity in reticles is a growing concern as device
geometries move below the 130nm level. In the past, reticles utilized a thin-film pellicle to keep particles away from the glass surface, especially since the pods were difficult to clean using automated pod cleaning systems. For advanced processes, however, eliminating pellicles is expected to facilitate achieving smaller linewidths during photoprocessing. The Asyst RSP-150 is the first 150mm RSP to make pellicle-free reticle design a viable option. Its elastomer-sealed perimeter gasket and greatly simplified cleanability and water drainage enhance the pod's ability to keep reticles both particle-free and fully
stable during shipping and transport.

Also important to fabs and, especially, foundries are the RSP-150's greatly enhanced storage properties. Foundries typically maintain a library containing many thousands of reticles, putting storage space at a premium. The RSP-150 features a nearly 2x thinner profile than its predecessor, enabling better storage density than any previously available reticle pods and allowing foundries to better serve customers by keeping reticles safely archived for longer periods.

"In developing the RSP-150, we set out to create the optimum reticle - handling solution," said Gary Gallagher, senior director of Asyst's Wafer and Reticle Carrier product division. "This product reflects Asyst's market-leading expertise, strategic relationships with materials providers and close communication with customers, which allowed us to set a new industry standard for safety, cleanliness and usability in advanced reticle handling."

Asyst offers a number of advanced options for the RSP-150 that will allow users to customize the pod for their individual manufacturing requirements. One such option is the ability to utilize the company's AdvanTag(tm) advanced tracking system with integrated radio-frequency identification (RFID) that ties into a socket built into the unit to enable snap-on use of the RFID transponder 'pill.' Also integrated into the design is the option to readily attach Asyst's SMART-Tag for infrared (IR) tracking or a man-readable plus bar-code license plate.

In addition, customers who select the RSP-150 for use in 300mm fabs may opt for a version incorporating Asyst's recently introduced CoolCase(tm) material that provides exceptional flame and smoke retardance. Although opaque rather than transparent, the CoolCase RSP-150 will deliver all the other advantages of the new pod, plus protection from ultraviolet (UV) light damage. Customers wanting UV protection without the CoolCase's fire-retardant properties may also select a transparent, amber-colored option.

Further options, for which Asyst has patents pending, include: a top automation flange with an integrated manual handle to ease the movement of the RSP-150 onto an overhead transport (OHT) system, such as Asyst's FasTrack(tm); a tamper-proof closure on the pod that prevents manual opening, to enhance damage control, particularly during shipping; a unique door cover/closure that includes built-in grounding capability to prevent static damage during physical transport of the pod; and an elegant passive reticle centering and retention system.

Asyst will demonstrate its new RSP in its booth #1338 at SEMICON West, July 22-24, at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

About Asyst: Asyst Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of
integrated automation solutions that enable semiconductor manufacturers to increase manufacturing productivity and protect investments in silicon wafers during the manufacture of integrated circuits, or ICs. The company offers a broad range of 200mm and 300mm solutions that enable the safe transfer of wafers and information between process equipment and the fab line throughout the IC fabrication process, while reducing IC damage caused by human, environmental, mechanical and chemical factors. Encompassing isolation systems, work-in-process
materials management, substrate-handling robotics, automated transport and loading systems, and connectivity automation software, Asyst's modular, interoperable solutions allow chipmakers and original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, to select and employ the value-assured, hands-off manufacturing capabilities that best suit their needs. Asyst's homepage is < http://asyst.com/>

SMIF stands for Standard Mechanical Interface. SMIF, SMIF-Pod,
AdvanTag, CoolCase and FasTrack are trademarks of Asyst Technologies, Inc.

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