Electronics & Computers

MetaPULSE System Selected for Advanced Packaging R&D

September 5, 2012

Dynamic growth in advanced packaging arena drives need for critical process characterization technologies.

FLANDERS, NJ -- Rudolph Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: RTEC), a leading provider of inspection, metrology and process control software for semiconductor manufacturing, announced that a premier global industry research center in Asia has purchased Rudolph's MetaPULSE G Metrology System for advanced packaging process development activity.

"New packaging technologies are quickly driving the need for advanced metrology capability—capabilities that until recently were only required in the 'front-end' wafer processing fabs," said Ardy Johnson, Rudolph's marketing vice president. "We've seen phenomenal growth in the back-end for advanced macro inspection to satisfy new packaging approaches such as 2.5D interposer technology, and we see emerging opportunities for MetaPULSE Technology to be used for a variety of critical measurements and various materials characteristics. Our history in providing hardware and software solutions for both 'ends' of IC manufacturing has resulted in the ability to quickly respond to the new and emerging requirements of the advanced packaging market."

The MetaPULSE G System will provide thin film metrology capability that is critical in the development and control of advanced wafer level packaging processes that use metal structures, such as redirect layers (RDL) and under bump metallization (UBM) to route signals from the chip to the package. The system shipped in August 2012.

"After a thorough evaluation of available technologies, Rudolph's MetaPULSE Technology emerged as the most complete solution for this customer's metrology and film characterization needs," said Tim Kryman, Rudolph's director of metrology product management. "In addition to providing the fast and accurate measurements of thickness, density and roughness, its small spot size and ability to measure structures directly on product wafers allow users to see pattern dependent variations that are not detectable with monitor wafers."

MetaPULSE is a proven technology for measuring opaque materials such as the metals used to interconnect transistors within integrated circuits. "It has a long and excellent track record in front-end semiconductor manufacturing," Kryman added, "and we expect it to become equally important in advanced packaging processes in development today."

As integrated circuits continue to increase in power and complexity, advanced packaging processes have been developed to accommodate the greatly increased number of input/output (I/O) connections they require. Many of these processes operate on full wafers (wafer level), in contrast to the chip level packaging processes they are replacing. Errors on fully processed wafers can be costly, making inspection and measurement essential components of the process. Three dimensional integration and packaging schemes, which stack multiple chips and use through silicon vias (TSV) to pass signals vertically through the chip, also use layered structures, such as RDL and UBM, to route signals horizontally between chips.

Rudolph's MetaPULSE Technology uses a laser-induced ultrasonic sonar pulse to characterize thickness, density and other parameters of single layers or multi layered stacks of opaque materials, non-destructively and without interference from underlying layers. The MetaPULSE G System delivers superior performance on all metal films, and is optimized for thin single and multilayer applications that are critical in advanced logic, memory and 3D packaging processes. Unlike optical and x-ray techniques, PULSE™ Technology can be used in active die without special test pads. Its 10x10 micron spot size assures measurement capability on product wafers in 30x30 micron or smaller test sites.

About Rudolph Technologies
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.

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