Automated Measurement Improves Productivity and Information Value for a Silicon Testing Lab
EV Group, Inc. offers products for silicon wafer bonding, lithography/nanoimprint lithography and metrology equipment, as well as photoresist coaters, cleaners, and inspection systems. The company operates a demonstration and applications lab in Tempe, Arizona, where engineers perform process-control projects to measure film and coating thickness on a variety of wafer types and sizes for processes that are being developed by EVG’s customers.
Seeking a New Method for Measuring Film Thickness
Previously, EVG engineers used "scratch test" measurement methods, removing film from a selected area of the wafer and using an optical profilometer to measure the film thickness. These methods were time-consuming, provided limited data, and could not support repeatable tests.
The engineers also needed a testing system that could measure polymer film thickness in a variety of customer applications. These factors led EVG to Filmetrics® and the F50-EXR film thickness mapping system.
The Filmetrics F50-EXR supports the longer wavelengths necessary to measure thicker, rougher, and more opaque films. The system meets EVG requirements for measuring multiple wafer sizes (up to 300 mm) and multiple material types, including silicon in its native state, silicon wafers with metal seed layers, and wafers made of specialized materials that can tolerate only minimal handling. "A virtue of the Filmetrics system is that it can handle a full range of wafer sizes and polymer thicknesses, and handle them quite well," says Garrett Oakes, Director of Technology North America, EV Group, Inc.
Fast, Precise Measurements for Many Applications
Using the Filmetrics F50-EXR has brought several benefits to EVG.
Time savings: "I didn't want to have a complex tool in the lab that nobody would want to use," explains Oakes. "The Filmetrics system is very intuitive and it takes an engineer very little time to figure out how to configure it for a test." Because the Filmetrics tests are automated, EVG engineers can perform other work while the tests are running, which helps their productivity.
The ability to access test results via remote access to the F50-EXR system also saves time for the engineers. "We can now perform hundreds of measurements in the same amount of time that previously we could obtain only a few," says Oakes.
Repeatable Tests: Repeatability increases customer confidence in the measurements produced by the tests. "The automated testing with the Filmetrics unit allows our engineers to easily perform multiple measurements on the same wafer," explains Oakes. "Automation also supports testing consistency when an engineer is verifying measurements across multiple wafers in a sample set."
Adaptability: System support for multiple wafer sizes and types enables EVG to accept a wide variety of customer testing projects.
Comprehensive Data: By measuring more points on a wafer and providing a visual representation and detailed test results in their reports, EVG engineers can help customers identify issues in a product's design or manufacturing process.
Oakes and his engineers also benefit from the application support provided by Filmetrics for designing unusual or challenging measurement tests. "The Filmetrics engineers will help you understand the best measurement choice for your needs," says Oakes.
For EVG, automating film measurements with the Filmetrics F50-EXR has brought improvements in lab operations, as well as increased customer satisfaction with the company's services.
Key Business Issues:
- Reduce the time required to set up tests and obtain polymer film measurements
- Use a single tool for measuring films in varied applications
- Enable repeatable tests
- Filmetrics F50-EXR film thickness mapping system
- Consulting support from Filmetrics for setting up specialized tests
- Time savings for engineers through fast and automated testing and remote system access
- Ability to easily test multiple film application types and silicon wafer sizes
- Repeatable tests support measurement consistency in multi-wafer tests
- Comprehensive reports provide valuable information on product and process design for EVG customers
EV Group, Inc.