This section provides an overview for semiconductor inspection equipment as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 5 semiconductor inspection equipment manufacturers and their company rankings. Here are the top-ranked semiconductor inspection equipment companies as of June, 2023: 1.ViSCO Technologies USA, Inc., 2.Koh Young Technology, 3.COPYRIGHT UENO SEIKI CO.,LTD..
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Categories Related to Semiconductor inspection equipment
Semiconductor inspection equipment is equipment that inspects wafers and semiconductor chips for defects in the semiconductor manufacturing process.
The main semiconductor manufacturing processes include the photomask manufacturing process, which is equivalent to a printing plate, the wafer manufacturing process, which is the foundation of semiconductors, the front-end process of forming fine circuit structures on wafers using photomasks, and the back-end process of packaging individual semiconductor chips after circuit formation. If we look at the details, there are hundreds of processes.
In recent years, semiconductor microfabrication technology has reached the nanometer range (about 1/10,000th the thickness of a human hair), and at the same time, wafers have become larger in diameter, so that several thousand semiconductor chips containing billions of transistors can be produced from a single wafer.
Inspection equipment is extremely important in the semiconductor manufacturing process, which boasts such high productivity, leading to early rejection of defective products, cost reduction, and improvement of quality and reliability. The criteria for selecting semiconductor inspection equipment should take into consideration the diameter of the wafer, the process to be used, and the type of defects to be detected.
Semiconductor inspection equipment is used in various phases of the semiconductor manufacturing process.
Defects to be detected using semiconductor inspection equipment include distortion, cracks, scratches, and foreign matter on photomasks and wafers, misalignment of circuit patterns formed in the front-end process, dimensional defects, packaging defects in the back-end process, and many other cases.
For this reason, it is necessary to select appropriate semiconductor inspection equipment and software for each process, and automation using AI, etc. is being promoted to speed up inspections and reduce manpower.
Semiconductor inspection equipment consists of measurement equipment, software to process the measured data, and facilities to perform the appropriate measurement.
High-resolution cameras, electron microscopes, and laser measuring instruments are used as measuring devices. Software for processing the measured data is developed with algorithms that are specific to the process to be inspected. Vibration suppression and lighting equipment are also necessary to ensure proper measurement. The image imaging, image processing, and defect classification technologies that are central to semiconductor inspection equipment are described below.
Wafers are made from semiconductor raw materials such as silicon, which are formed as cylindrical monocrystalline materials called ingots, sliced to a thickness of about 1 mm, and polished on the surface, with a diameter of 12 inches (about 30 cm) these days.
Defects in wafers include not only attached foreign matter but also surface flaws, cracks, uneven processing, and crystal defects on the wafer itself, etc. Detecting these defects mainly by laser beam irradiation is the visual inspection in the wafer manufacturing process.
The front-end process proceeds in the wafer state, and there are two main types of defects that occur there, referred to as random and systematic. Random defects are mainly caused by the presence of foreign matter, but because they are random, their locations are unpredictable. Therefore, random defects on wafers are detected by image processing. Systematic defects, on the other hand, are defects caused by particles adhering to the photomask or exposure process conditions, such as on the photomask, and tend to occur at the same location on each semiconductor chip lined up on the wafer.
In the back-end process, wafers are cut into individual chips (dicing), placed in resin or ceramic packages, and sealed by connecting terminals on the chips to those on the package (wire bonding). The second stage of the process consists mainly of electrical inspections, but also includes visual inspections for wire bonding defects, part number printing defects, etc.
In general, visual inspections in the manufacturing process often aim to check for dirt, scratches, etc., and in some cases have nothing to do with product functionality or performance. However, dirt, scratches, etc. in semiconductor manufacturing are not merely apparent problems; in almost all cases, they are problems that affect functionality and performance.
Semiconductors are electronic devices, and like other electrical and electronic devices, electrical inspections are performed. However, it is extremely difficult to inspect all the billions of transistors and the wiring that connects them, and only visual inspections can confirm things like transistor gates and wiring detail.
In semiconductor processes at the nanometer level, the thickness of a single wire and the spacing between adjacent wires are several nanometers.
If there are nano-order defects here, they can cause wiring shorts or wire breaks. Furthermore, even if the wiring width is 90% of the designed value due to a defect of 1/10th the size, the resistance and capacitance of the wiring will change. When an electric current flows through this wiring, a phenomenon called electromigration, in which metal atoms move due to the movement of electrons, occurs, rapidly thinning the wiring and causing disconnections to occur in a short period.
Thus, semiconductor manufacturing requires visual inspections with extremely fine precision, and as microfabrication technology continues to evolve, the required precision will continue to increase.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Ranking as of June 2023 in United States of AmericaDerivation Method
|1||ViSCO Technologies USA, Inc.||43.8%|
|2||Koh Young Technology||18.8%|
|3||COPYRIGHT UENO SEIKI CO.,LTD.||18.8%|
Ranking as of June 2023 GloballyDerivation Method
|1||ViSCO Technologies USA, Inc.||40%|
|2||Koh Young Technology||20%|
|3||COPYRIGHT UENO SEIKI CO.,LTD.||20%|
Derivation MethodThe ranking is calculated based on the click share within the semiconductor inspection equipment page as of June 2023. Click share is defined as the total number of clicks for all companies during the period divided by the number of clicks for each company.
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