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WaferSense ATS helps eliminate wafer scrap

Posted: 01 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:machine vision? ATS? WaferSense? CyberOptics? measurement?

WaferSenseATS from CyberOptics

CyberOptics Semiconductor Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of CyberOptics Corp., has announced the WaferSense Automatic Teaching System (ATS), an addition to its lineup of wireless, wafer-like measurement products. According to the company, ATS employs machine vision to see inside semiconductor equipment and to help avoid costly wafer mishandling, a significant cause of wafer scrap in highly automated semiconductor manufacturing plants.

'Teaching' process
Operating and maintaining modern 200mm and 300mm semiconductor process equipment is believed to be costly because it often requires lengthy downtime and expensive consumables. Equipment and maintenance engineers, therefore, are continually looking for opportunities to reduce downtime as well as diagnose and correct problems faster. Equipment availability and performance can be raised by teaching wafer transfer locations faster and more accurately. Today's robot "teaching" process (i.e., determining wafer transfer coordinates and loading them into the robot's controller software) requires technicians to manually direct the robot's motion and estimate wafer transfer positions. This process is believed to be not only labor intensive, but inaccurate because coordinates for most teach positions are "eyeballed" and subjective. The current labor-intensive and inaccurate procedures also require that equipment be taken off the production line and partially dismantled during maintenance.

CyberOptics claims that WaferSense ATS is an innovative measurement technology that provides accurate wafer transfer coordinates for robotic handling while reducing equipment downtime and wafer scrap. Wireless and wafer-like, the ATS can be handled like a wafer. Once inside semiconductor equipment, using machine vision technology, it "sees" targets that mark wafer transfer locations, such as load locks and process chambers, and transmits their digital coordinates to the user. Because there is no need to dismantle the equipment or cool it below maintenance temperatures, fabs can save qualification time and consumables. The ATS relays live video and real-time coordinate data via graphical user interface making equipment checks and adjustments fast and easy. The live video allows engineers to look for lost or broken wafers without opening the tool.

Increased yield
WaferSense ATS is available for 200mm and 300mm equipment and is accurate to +0.1mm (x and y positions) and +0.5mm (z position). Easy-to-use software logs data for later comparison and analysis to detect errors in wafer handling, and helps the user "train" the ATS to recognize new types of targets. Hard data and repeatable coordinates eliminate technician-to-technician variations in calibration technique to eliminate wafer scrap due to mishandling and eventually increase yield.

"As wafer geometries shrink and fab automation grows, it becomes critically important to teach accurate and repeatable wafer transfer positions to achieve maximum productivity and yield," said Craig Ramsey, general manager of CyberOptics Semiconductor. "WaferSense ATS provides coordinate data to maintenance engineers so that robot transfer coordinate teaching is fast, accurate and reproducible. With our ATS, fabs can significantly reduce downtime and scrap."

The WaferSense ATS product includes teaching wafer, charging clean box, USB link and application software (TeachView and TeachTarget).

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