Rudolph launches noncontact metal film metrology for FPD panels

July 11, 2012 — Rudolph Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:RTEC), process characterization equipment and software provider for microelectronic manufacturers, launched the MetaPULSE FP thin film metrology system with an initial sale to a major manufacturer of flat panel displays (FPD) for handheld mobile devices.

This MetaPULSE FP tool is being used for measurements on Gen-4.5 substrates (790 x 930mm), which are used to make displays for e-readers, tablets, phones and other mobile devices. The FPD maker will qualify it on an R&D line then ramp to high-volume production.

Picosecond Ultrasonic Laser Sonar (PULSE) technology measures single and multi-layered opaque thin films and was developed to serve semiconductor manufacturing process control needs. MetaPULSE FP uses Rudolph’s PULSE Technology to measure the critical thickness of metal layers deposited during display manufacturing, thanks to collaborative development with FPD and light-emitting diode (LED) manufacturers and process tool providers.

The new tool measures metal film thickness on product structures without contacting the device, avoiding damage or destructive testing, said Dr. Avishai Kepten, VP and GM of Rudolph’s Metrology Business Unit. The MetaPULSE measurement head is coupled with customized glass substrate handling to meet the needs of displays makers, which work on panels much larger than semiconductor wafers, said Rudolph’s director of metrology product management, Tim Kryman.

The metrology tool inspects gate metal layers such as Cr, Ta, Al, Mo, Ta, as well as deposition of Ti and/or Al source and data lines in single or multi-layer stacks. These metal layers build up the thin-film transistors (TFT) in either amorphous or polycrystalline silicon applied to the rear of the glass.

Rudolph is engaging with FPD makers to install the tool on larger-generation display panel lines for TV apps. “Ongoing development activity is focused on repackaging the PULSE measurement head with larger substrate handling to accommodate the full range of FPD sizes currently in production.  Our goal is to provide this critical metal metrology for all generations of FPD manufacturing,” adds Kepten.

Rudolph Technologies, Inc. provides defect inspection, process control metrology, and data analysis systems and software used by semiconductor device manufacturers worldwide. The company’s yield management solutions are used in both the wafer processing and final manufacturing of ICs, as well as in emerging markets such as FPD, LED and Solar. Additional information can be found on the company’s web site at www.rudolphtech.com.

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