Rudolph Announces the JetStep Panel Lithography System

June 27, 2013. Rudolph Technologies Inc., a provider of process characterization, photolithography equipment and software for the semiconductor, FPD, LED, and solar industries, has announced the company’s entry into the emerging advanced-packaging panel-lithography market with the JetStep panel lithography system.

Scalable technology is rapidly increasing in importance. To improve their cost of ownership (COO) and increase productivity, advanced packaging facilities are transitioning to large panels ranging up to Gen 3.5 (approximately 650 mm x 720 mm). Enlarging the substrate size has been the natural approach; however, traditional technology has been limited to standard wafer sizes. With companies progressively moving to fan-out packages, they are no longer limited to operating within the constraints of a round wafer.

By responding to market opportunities and addressing the stringent demands of their customers’ technical roadmaps, Rudolph is positioned to capture first-mover advantage in the emerging market of advanced packaging panel lithography. Customers could require wafer tool suppliers to redesign their tools to handle large panels, or they could have panel tool suppliers learn how to expose semiconductors. Rudolph’s tool design provides a solution by delivering against both sets of requirements, while avoiding the risks inherent in any development program undertaken by a panel or wafer tool supplier. The JetStep panel lithography system, having emerged from the flat panel display market, is capable of processing both glass and organic laminate panels in the semiconductor advanced packaging market.

“Moving from reconstituted wafers to chips-on-panels is a significant, natural evolution of the advanced packaging platform,” said Elvino da Silveira, chief technology officer of Rudolph’s Lithography Systems Group. “This new substrate size is uniquely suited to Rudolph’s expertise in advanced packaging applications as well as panel-processing capabilities. The stepper’s inherent ability to handle panels reinforces the strategic vision behind this product introduction and market entry.”

As resolution, overlay, and other technical specifications become more critical in advanced packaging processes, back-end manufacturers are choosing to move from aligners to steppers to meet these requirements. The JetStep panel lithography system, combining unique LCD manufacturing and advanced packaging features and requirements, joins the previously announced JetStep lithography system for general advanced packaging lithography. In addition to on-the-fly autofocus for thick photoresists, an onboard reticle library, and a six-second reticle change out wheel, the JetStep panel lithography system can utilize Rudolph’s suite of software products— ProcessWORKS software for run-to-run control, Discover software for yield management, and ARTIST software for fault detection and classification—to provide a comprehensive solution for virtually any advanced packaging application.

“Rudolph has the technological foundation required for a panel lithography system,” noted Paul F. McLaughlin, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our combined application knowledge in advanced packaging and flat-panel display ideally positions us to lead the way in this new market. Our vision for Rudolph is to establish the company as the vendor of choice for advanced packaging and photolithography solutions. We have been working in close collaboration with our customers to further define solutions in accordance with their roadmaps. The biggest advantage provided to our customers is in throughput, as the number of die that can be processed in a given amount of time results in a compelling COO advantage over wafers. The introduction of the JetStep panel lithography system further solidifies our market-leading position. While we anticipate adoption of the new system in mid-2014, we are currently demonstrating this panel exposure technology today in our lithography manufacturing facility in Wilmington, MA.”

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