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Nikon's Confocal NEXIV Delivers a New Dimension in IC Metrology

July 12, 2005

New Confocal NEXIV Applies 3-Dimensional Measuring To Semiconductor Packages

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 12, 2005 -- Nikon Instruments, Inc., (http://www.nikoninstruments.com) a world leader in the development of advanced optical technology for microscopy, today announced a new addition to their NEXIV line of advanced metrology products. Nikon's new Confocal NEXIV VMR-K3040ZC addresses the metrology needs of complex IC packages resulting from the enormous demand for reliable semiconductor products. Measurement of multi-layer chips, and the position and height of the wire and micro-bumps connecting multiple layers, is critical to semiconductor manufacturing. The fusion of these technologies requires exceedingly accurate, high-speed precision measurement for 3-dimensional structures including materials composed of vastly different reflectivity rates.

"As the development of wafer level chip size package manufacturing accelerates, new challenges in height measurements comes to bear on existing inspection and measurement processes," said Mike Metzger, Nikon general manager, Industrial Department, Nikon Instruments. "Nikon's Confocal NEXIV solution revolutionizes traditional metrology by applying confocal optics and 3-D measurement capability to solve problems before production is impacted."

Nikon Confocal Optics Set New Metrology Standards
Widely used in bio-science research, confocal microscopy offers several advantages over conventional optical microscopy, including controllable depth of field, the elimination of image degrading out-of-focus information, and the ability to collect serial optical sections from material samples. The key to the confocal approach is the use of spatial filtering to eliminate flare in material sample images. The Nikon Confocal Nexiv uses a Nipkow disk, which features multiple, symmetrically placed spirals of pinhole apertures through which light is passed and split into "mini-beams." As the disk rotates, each beam scans across a portion of the sample field and generates a 3-D image. The image is projected into a digital CCD camera using optical sectioning technology. The result is a 3-D image captured in one scan delivering highly accurate and reliable height measurement data.

The Challenge of Height Measurement
For applications in the semiconductor industry, a high degree of accuracy for height measurement is demanded. The Confocal NEXIV features a new optical measuring head using confocal capabilities to solve the problem of Z-series measurement. This head supports a micron-level measuring capability, and has been optimized for semiconductor measuring by stressing low distortion to optimize the entire field of view. The optical head assures the accuracy of both measurement and magnification.
Precise measuring of semiconductor packaging requires not only high accuracy for height measurement but also high-speed. The most efficient solution for obtaining high speed measurement is to maximize a wide field of view. Nikon objective lenses deliver a sharp wide field of view and are available in 1.5X, 3X and 7.5X, allowing users to optimize a field of view that best fits a specific application.

The Confocal NEXIV separates the functions of brightfield and laser auto-focus. Each optical system is switchable by users employing an easy-to-use GUI interface. The brightfield optical system is user selectable and the laser auto-focus is handled by auto-focus power emissions. The objective lens is common for brightfield and laser auto-focus applications. Using these capabilities, it is possible to measure 2D and height measurement simultaneously.

Nikon's Confocal NEXIV also features a programmable teaching file that accelerates learning and productivity. With Nikon's Confocal NEXIV, users can select the best measuring solution depending on their specific measuring application.

About Nikon Instruments Inc.
Nikon Instruments Inc., is a global leader in the development of advanced optical technology. Its product line includes microscopy equipment, digital imaging, precision measuring and semiconductor wafer-handling equipment. Nikon is committed to providing technologically advanced instruments that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Nikon combines state-of-the-art capabilities with innovative designs to produce optically superior, ergonomically friendly products for cutting-edge scientific research, medical and industrial applications.

Product related inquiries can be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON

CONTACT: Nicole Mudloff of Peppercom, +1-212-931-6168, nmudloff@peppercom.com, for Nikon Instruments Inc.

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Products: NEXIV VMR-K3040ZC