Nikon Metrology / News / US News / Nikon's New Wafer Loader NWL200 Series Is the First Ever Capable of Loading Wafers as Thin as 100 Micrometers

Nikon's New Wafer Loader NWL200 Series Is the First Ever Capable of Loading Wafers as Thin as 100 Micrometers

July 15, 2008

High Level of Safety and Reliability meets Requirements for Inspection of Next Generation Semiconductors

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 15, 2008-- Accommodating a changing semiconductor manufacturing process where wafers continue to grow thinner, Nikon Instruments Inc., ( http://www.nikoninstruments.com/ ) announced its new wafer loader NWL200 Series, the first line-up of wafer loaders capable of loading wafers as thin as 100 micrometers. Using a new chuck system to transfer wafers, the NWL200 Series achieves highly-reliable loading suitable for inspection of next-generation semiconductors. Previous systems could not be counted on to safely load wafers thinner than 300 micrometers.

Thin wafers often undergo significant distortion in the cassette, making it necessary for the position sensors to be accurate to avoid damage by the arm. While this was difficult to do in the past, the optimized arrangement of the sensor beams in the NWL200 allows it to accurately detect the shape of the wafers in the cassette. Additionally, the optional edge-chipping detection function automatically detects wafer cracking. This enables macro inspections of all areas, adding to the support that was already available with earlier models.

"As advances in manufacturing processes have made wafers increasingly thin, safe wafer transfer has become essential, especially in the back-end microscope inspection process," said Mike Metzger, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, Nikon Instruments. "With the NWL200 Series, Nikon has provided a solution for ultra thin wafer transfer that meets the demands of the semiconductor industry, offering improved wafer-sensing functions that help companies optimize process yield."

Ergonomic efficiency has been designed into every aspect of the system. Operation keys and knobs are located within easy reach of the operator and the wafer cassette is positioned to help ease load/unload of the cassette. The overall efficiency of the wafer transfer reduces cycle time, achieving levels of throughput never seen before in any other system.

The NWL200 Series also offers outstanding operability features. New wafer-slot buttons on the front panel enable users to select a specific wafer in a slot with a touch of a button. At the same time, a large LCD screen allows operators to set conditions and check the operating status at a glance. Additionally, when the loader is connected to a LAN, users are able to program recipes and backup data from a PC.

ABOUT NIKON INSTRUMENTS INC.

Nikon Instruments Inc is a world leader in the development and manufacture of optical and digital imaging technology for biomedical and industrial applications. Now in its 90th year, Nikon provides complete optical systems that offer optimal versatility, performance and productivity. Cutting-edge instruments include microscopes, precision measuring equipment, digital imaging products and software. Nikon Instruments is the microscopy and digital imaging arm of Nikon Inc., the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology. For more information, visit http://www.nikoninstruments.com/. Product-related inquiries may be directed to Nikon Instruments at 800-52-NIKON.

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

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Products: NWL200