Each equipment component and machine used by integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) or foundry companies for the manufacturing of semiconductor chips must follow these requirements. And also each of the demanding and sensitive manufacturing steps – both in the development of process-related technologies and the numerous processing steps a silicon wafer undergoes.
Lithography is one of the most decisive process steps in wafer processing. This is where the foundation for the functionality of the chips is laid, i.e., processor speed, storage capability, space requirements, and power consumption. During the repetitive exposure process, smallest structures for printed circuit boards, transistors, and other components have to be transferred onto the silicon wafer.
Measurement and inspection processes are necessary at all critical points in the manufacturing process to ensure high quality and reliability of the final products and also the yield of the cost-intensive chip production.
In many manufacturing steps, the ability to move components with nanometer and even sub-nanometer precision and with high dynamics, or to hold a position precisely over an extended period of time, plays a crucial role.