Francoise von Trapp

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Rudolph Technologies, Inc., known for its process characterization, photolithography equipment and software for the semiconductor, FPD, LED and solar industries, has taken another step in expanding its capabilities for inspection and metrology in 3D packaging through the acquisition of selected assets, including a strong patent portfolio, relating to metrology capability from Tamar Technology, Newbury Park, CA.

“The purchase of these assets adds new capabilities to our technology portfolio, which addresses an emerging need for 3D measurements to control copper pillar bumping in advanced packaging processes.” says Michael Jost, vice president and general manager of Rudolph’s Inspection Business Unit. Jost explained that copper pillar bumping for flip-chips is expected to grow at a 35% CAGR from 2010 to 2018, and will initially be the most immediate application targeted by Rudolph. Additionally, the company has plans to leverage Tamar’s technologies in the growing 3D IC market space. Jost says the Tamar’s technology will be integrated into Rudolph’s  NSX® and F30™ inspection and metrology platforms. “This purchase gives Rudolph a significant patent portfolio that we plan to fully leverage,” he said. “The integration work is essentially complete and we expect to receive initial system orders in the coming months.”

Tamar is  is already well known and widely used for 3D IC inspection and metrology. For example, SEMATECH has relied on Tamar’s sensor for TSV depth measurement with unlimited aspect ratio for a number of years. infrared light to measure TSV depth from the backside of the wafer, thus avoiding the limitations on via aspect ratio encountered by most frontside measurement approaches. Additionally, the company is also known for making inroads into measuring total thickness variation to address wafer warp and bow – a critical area in 3D IC manufacturing.

“This agreement with Rudolph integrates our technology into an advanced platform from a trusted supplier that meets our customers’ needs for throughput and process integration in high-volume production,” said David Grant, Tamar Technology’s president.