Rudolph Technologies, Inc. announced today that it has purchased Stella Alliance, LLC, a Massachusetts-based semiconductor inspection technology intellectual property (IP) portfolio company. Stella Alliance’s patented illumination, auto-focus, and image acquisition technology significantly enhances the ability to identify certain critical defects not visible with current techniques. With this acquisition, Rudolph expects to add a next-generation, high-resolution inspection system to its portfolio of solutions in the second quarter of 2016. Additionally, the acquired technology is able to handle large rectangular substrates, extending Rudolph’s inspection portfolio footprint into growing unserved segments of microelectronic device manufacturing.
Paul McLaughlin, Rudolph’s chairman and chief executive officer, stated, “We expect the addition of this patented technology to bring a competitive advantage to our customers by addressing current inspection limitations, while helping Rudolph maintain the dominant market share in the back-end inspection arena.”
The technology was developed to overcome the challenges of detecting residue-related defects that traditional technologies can miss. These defects can have a significant impact on the interconnect quality, such as incomplete etch of bond or bump pads, faint copper bridging and stringers at the bottom of vias and high aspect ratio trenches in fan-out wafer level packaging (FOWLP), wafer-level chip scale packaging (WLCSP) and embedded die applications.
In addition, the technology provides the high resolution needed to inspect highly warped rectangular panels (larger than 500mm). This complements Rudolph’s JetStep (R) S line of steppers, which are panel-ready today. With this technology, Rudolph will offer a more comprehensive panel solution, which involves printing, inspecting and yield analysis, to quickly ramp lines and maintain high productivity.
“This new technology helps Rudolph provide configurable systems to meet current and future challenges faced by our customers,” said Mike Goodrich, vice president and general manager of Rudolph’s Inspection Business Unit. “As interconnect technology becomes increasingly important in back-end 3D and 2.5D applications, we anticipate this inspection technique to be a key component for our customers’ process control strategies.”
The company does not expect the transaction to have an impact on the results of operations for the 2015 third quarter. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.