Wireless Applications

OnWafer Acquires Advanced Energy's Plasma Management Division

July 11, 2006

Move bolsters company's plasma-process-control offerings for chipmakers' stringent manufacturing requirements.


PLEASANTON, Calif. /PRNewswire/ -- To further extend its leadership in the process control and diagnostics wireless metrology space, OnWafer Technologies announced that it has acquired the plasma management division from Advanced Energy Industries Inc. To this end, OnWafer reports that it has obtained the intellectual property and technology-related assets associated with the division to further strengthen the company's offerings of plasma-process-control solutions used in the production of advanced semiconductor devices.

The proliferation of digital devices and mobile information demands sophisticated and highly complex semiconductors that feature finer design rules and offer faster processing speeds. The unstable environment of plasma processing, which is critical to the production of these advanced ICs, remains one of the key hurdles for chipmakers and equipment manufacturers alike. To address this challenge, Advanced Energy developed a revolutionary plasma sensor system that can be built onto the surface of a standard silicon wafer to measure critical plasma characteristics (e.g., ion saturation current, DC Bias, and surface voltage) as the wafer is etched. This enables unprecedented plasma characterization, diagnostics, and control as customers move beyond the 45-nm processing node.

According to Rod Browning, OnWafer's CEO, the acquisition of Advanced Energy's plasma management division enhances the company's effort to deliver the most advanced plasma measurement capabilities on its proprietary SensorWafers. "OnWafer is committed to continuously developing better ways to help our customers address their critical processing problems. By integrating Advanced Energy's novel sensor technology with our broad line of SensorWafer technology, software analytical tools, and automated sensor wafer delivery systems, we believe we can offer a more comprehensive process-control solution to our customers, enabling them to meet the continued demands associated with plasma semiconductor processing."

Terms and additional details surrounding the acquisition were not disclosed.

About SensorWafers
OnWafer's SensorWafers are the flagship products within the company's breakthrough mobile metrology portfolio, which includes software tools for both analysis and corrective methodologies needed to optimize process performance, reduce maintenance costs, and increase manufacturing yields. By extending beyond traditional wired-sensor wafer temperature-based process control, this comprehensive metrology solution enables chipmakers to dynamically control the critical wafer-process zone. Engineers can look inside the process and see what is happening at the wafer surface in real time, during the actual process conditions, with real process gases, not before or after. As a result, chipmakers can meet their application-specific performance requirements and extend the useable lifetime of their process tool sets.

About OnWafer Technologies
OnWafer Technologies is the pioneer and global leader of the emerging process-zone control segment within the larger process diagnostics metrology market. Applications for this technology currently target photolithography and plasma-etch processes and will ultimately extend to a broad range of mission-critical process technologies. OnWafer's mobile metrology solutions feature wireless, wafer-based sensors, sophisticated software, and optimization programs to monitor, measure, and dynamically tune process results. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., OnWafer Technologies is a privately held company. For more information about the company and its products, visit OnWafer's Web site.


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