Tools + Services


Park Systems’ new XE-NSOM/Raman atomic force microscope (AFM) is designed to provide unsurpassed versatility for advanced near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM) and Raman spectrometry experiments, according to company claims. Unlike conventional NSOM systems that provide shear-force feedback by means of tuning forks, the XE-NSOM uses cantilever-based, closed loop feedback, available with a high-performing Z-servo scan, for true non-contact operation.

The combination of Raman and AFM promises new understanding about sample composition and structure: When high-resolution topographic sample information is combined with the chemical information obtained from Raman images, a more comprehensive sample characterization emerges.

Click here to enlarge image

The tool features an upgradeable, modular design and offers various reflection/transmission modes. NSOM applications include near-field fluorescence and near-field Raman; confocal applications include microfluorescence and micro-Raman.

Asylum Research, in response to the growing applications of electromechanical imaging and spectroscopy, has developed a new Piezo Force Module, which promises high sensitivity, high bias, and crosstalk-free measurements of piezo-electrics, ferroelectrics, multiferroics, and biological systems. The module is available exclusively for the company’s MFP-3D atomic force microscope.

“Electromechanics and PFM is a growing area of research with studies ranging from data storage devices to MEMS to electromotor proteins and electrophysiology,” says Dr. Roger Proksch, president and co-founder of Asylum Research. “Our Piezo Force Module uses a special high-voltage accessory and advanced imaging modes to measure piezo-response, even for the weakest piezoelectric materials.”

Click here to enlarge image

The module enables high-voltage PFM measurements and advanced imaging modes for characterizing the sample material. It applies a bias to the AFM tip using proprietary electronics, a high-voltage cantilever, and sample holder. The vertical and lateral response amplitude measures the local electromechanical activity of the surface, and the phase of the response yields information on the polarization direction. High-probing voltages, up to +220 volts, can characterize even very weak piezo materials.

Teneo Micro Instruments has launched its Teneo TM70xx line of mechanically actuated micro-tools. Created by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the tool set requires no electrical or thermal power to operate, and it integrates and augments standard microprobe and micromanipulator stations. The tools were designed to enable micro-assembly, fiber-optic positioning, stiction release, and MEMS probing—in addition to acute cellular manipulations, micro-dissection, microscopy sample positioning, and cell stimulation and measurement. Additionally, applications are taking root in semiconductor probing.

Click here to enlarge image

The micro-cam-driven design features a broad range of stock and custom tool styles—straight, serrated, piercing, and custom tips. Functional variations include micro-scissors, sensors, and electrophysiology tools made of polymers and metals. Sizes range from microns to millimeters.

FEI Co. says its new Titan3 80-300 (called Titan “cubed” because of its fully enclosed profile) transmission electron microscope (TEM), takes the capabilities of FEI’s Titan S/TEM microscope, introduced in 2005, to new levels of performance and enhanced operation at lower cost. The system’s ultra-high resolution is enabled by its design that combines—for the first time ever on a single instrument, according to the company—two Cs-aberration correctors and a monochromator. FEI also claims the system’s enclosure significantly reduces environmental interference, providing greater stability and eliminating the need for expensive lab improvements.

Okmetic, supplier of silicon wafers for MEMS sensors, has created a new silicon-on-insulator (SOI) product with built-in gettering properties. Since the gettering of metal impurities is built in the starting material, Okmetic G-SOI promises IC-integrated MEMS processes with benefits, including smaller device size, improved yields, streamlined process, and decreased cost. The gettering effect is achieved by adding a thin polysilicon layer between the active layer and buried oxide of a BSOI structure. The solution is layout-independent, eliminates the need for mask layers, and enables skipping the implant process step.

Click here to enlarge image

Ambios Technology has introduced the XP-Plus Series surface profilometers. The series consists of three different profilers, each designed to meet the needs of a specific set of research and manufacturing criteria. According to Patrick O’Hara, Ambios’ president and CEO, the new instruments represent a substantial advancement in the state of the art. The series “is the culmination of nearly two years of research, product development, and field testing,” he says. “Our customers’ input was the impetus for the XP-Plus Series products and is reflected in the features and performance of these next-generation products.”

Click here to enlarge image

PI (Physik Instrumente) has introduced the P-737 PIFOC Piezo-Z Stage, which it says is the highest-performance nano-positioning Z control system on the market. Designed for biotech research microscopes using deconvolution and 3D imaging techniques, the P-737 PIFOC features up to 250µm travel. While PI says that no sample stage can beat the speed of the fastest PIFOC objective positioners (due to stiff, compact design), the P-737 allows for millisecond sample settling, which enables Z-stack imaging with multiple objectives and very high throughput. The P-737 fully exploits the high throughput of the latest digital imaging systems, according to PI, and thus is able to achieve 10x to 50x faster response than conventional stepper motor focus drives.

Microfluidics’ Micro-fluidizer M-110EH-30 high-shear processor now incorporates new capabilities and features. Promising reliable and efficient operation at up to 30,000psi process pressure, it’s designed to produce nano-suspensions and nano-emulsions, as well as liposomal encapsulation and cell disruption, with the least number of passes.

Click here to enlarge image

The unit is designed to produce small batches for clinical trials and for other pilot runs. It comes standard with a diamond interaction chamber and provides an average flow rate (with water) of 330ml/min at 30,000psi and can handle batch sizes of up to several gallons. A replacement ceramic interaction chamber is included and increases the average flow rate (with water) to 450ml/min when processing materials that require pressures of 20,000 to 25,000psi. All results from the M-110EH-30 are guaranteed scalable to Microfluidics’ M-700 pilot and production machines.

memsstar Technology Ltd. (Scotland) has introduced a full range of research, development, and production tools for its SVR and SPD process chambers, which enable dry isotropic etching and surface coating with ultra thin films. The company’s SOLO, SENTRY, and MULTI platforms are based on the same process module to facilitate transition from research to development to production. Manual, semi-automated, and fully automated loading and processing systems, available as interchangeable options, provide alternatives to re-qualification and re-engineering. Multiple chemistries and chambers allow MEMS designers and manufacturers to choose among a range of sacrificial etch materials and functional coatings.

Tokyo Electron Ltd. (TEL) has become the first supplier to join SEMATECH’s 3D Interconnect Program, launched in 2005, to evolve traditional copper/low-k interconnect technology to 3D chip stacking.

The two had already been working together to address early development challenges in 3D through-silicon vias (TSVs), including deep-silicon reactive ion etching (DRIE), cost modeling, process benchmarking, standards development, and technology road mapping.

The company’s contributions in front-end and back-end processing and MEMS “has proven invaluable to these efforts,” according to Sitaram Arkalgud, program director.

The promise of 3D-TSV technology, which requires bonding semiconductor wafers and dies using deep TSVs for interconnects, is that it will provide cost-effective ways to integrate diverse CMOS technologies and eventually link CMOS chips with emerging technologies such as MEMS and biochips.

19 leading companies throughout the electronics industry have launched the SOI Industry Consortium to help accelerate adoption into broad markets by promoting the benefits of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology and reducing the barriers to adoption. The group says performance and power consumption are now of primary concern throughout the electronics industry, and the next wave of adopters needs a proven and complete array of readily accessible SOI design platforms and IP to ensure transparent design platforms and cost-effective manufacturing.

“By unifying users and enablers, the SOI Industry Consortium can identify and close gaps in the design chain, making SOI a viable choice for designers over a much broader range of markets,” says Andre-Jacques Auberton-Herve of Soitec, the consortium’s newly elected chair.

AMD, Carl Zeiss SMT, and Qimonda AG are working together on new analytical and characterization methods required for the development of next-generation microchips. The work is being conducted within the framework of the Nanoanalysis Project, which the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has backed with 12 million Euros. This strengthens the competency of the newly founded Carl Zeiss Innovation Center Dresden, particularly in the fields of semiconductor analysis and metrology.

Click here to enlarge image

Tegal Corp., which announced a net income of $693,000 in Q2 2007 (compared to a net loss of $3.3 million in the same period last year and a loss of $639,000 in the previous quarter) has sold a second Tegal 6500 Advanced Etch cluster tool to Skyworks Solutions, which will use it for etching SiN and other critical thin films on GaAs substrates.