The MA/BA6 mask and bond aligner is designed for up 150 mm wafer size. The MA/BA6 is used for MEMS applications, production of optical components and compound semiconductors. It is very convincing through its multifaceted field of applications in research and development environments and excels equally in production environment thanks to its good process results.
High resolution exposure optics
Low cost of ownership
The high resolution optical and exposure systems of the MA/BA6 ensure valuable support for all areas of application. Even for MEMS applications with thick photo resists, high resolution and optimal edge illumination are assured. The special tooling comes to the fore even with sensitive III-V substrates and thinned or warped wafers.
Features like the accurate proximity calculations (e.g. for wedge error compensation) ensure smooth processing. Further support comes from the user-friendly process management and the easy loading and unloading of the device. The optional bottom side alignment allows a double-sided structuring of the substrates.
Also available for the MA/BA6 mask aligner is special tooling for wafer-to-wafer alignment and imprint lithography.
Where lithographic processes require the alignment of structures on only one side of the device wafer (e.g. RDL, microbumping and similar techniques), top-side alignment is used to align the fiducials on the mask with those of the wafer. Depending on substrate properties, this can be achieved either using stored position data for the wafer or through live image alignment, as in the DirectAligntm system invented at SUSS MicroTec.
Bottom-side Alignment (BSA)
Alignment of the structuring on the wafer back side with the structures on the front is required in processes involving applications such as MEMS, wafer-level packaging and 3D integration, where used for example to create vertical through silicon vias (TSVs) on interposers. Optical bottom side alignment is normally used for this type of alignment. An integrated camera system detects the mask structures and the structures on the wafer back side and aligns them with each other. The wafer position has to be determined and stored prior to loading, since the wafer afterwards conceals the mask target. This places specialized demands on the alignment system as a whole.
Features and Benefits
Multilayer wafer stacks are used in a number of structuring processes. By means of infrared (IR) illumination, the alignment marks that in the typical case are embedded between the layers can be identified and aligned.
Alignment can also be done using IR light based on such embedded marks. These require the use of materials that are transparent for IR light, such as undoped silicon, III-V semiconductors (e.g. GaAs) and adhesives for temporary bonding and debonding techniques. Specific cases should be tested to verify process feasibility.
In order to ensure availability of IR alignment to the greatest possible extent, the SUSS mask aligner can be optionally equipped with powerful IR light sources and high performance camera systems.
A mask with a certain structure is aligned with the wafer in very close proximity (thus “proximity” lithography). During exposure, the shadow cast by the mask structure is transferred to the wafer. The resulting exposure quality depends on both the precision with which the mask and wafer are spaced apart and the optical system used for exposure.
Being fast and suited to flexible implementation, this method is regarded as the most cost-effective technique for producing microstructures down to 3 µm in size. With contact exposure, resolutions in the sub-micron range can be achieved. Typical areas of use include wafer-level chip-scale packaging, flip chip packaging, bumping, MEMS, LED and power devices. The systems are deployed in high-volume production as well as in industrial research.
The mask aligners supplied by SUSS MicroTec are based on proximity lithography.
Features & Benefits
The lower the exposure gap from mask to wafer, the higher the resolution. In soft contact mode the wafer is brought into contact with the mask and is fixed onto the chuck with vacuum.
In hard contact mode the wafer is brought in direct contact with the mask, while positive nitrogen pressure is used to press the substrate against the mask. In hard contact mode a resolution in the 1 micron range is possible.
The large gap optics (LGO) optics is optimized for thick resist processes with large exposure gaps and 3D lithography, offering a resolution down to 5μm. The high resolution optics (HR) is apt for contact and close proximity lithography with structures down to 3μm at 20μm exposure gap. For processes with high dose requirements on 150mm wafers the exceptionally high intensity of the W150 HR optics facilitates high throughput.
The diffraction reducing exposure optics is designed to compensate diffraction effects in both contact and proximity lithography. Instead of using a plane wave as in other proximity lithography tools it provides an angular spectrum of planar light waves to reduce diffraction effects. The selection of a proper angular spectrum improves structure resolution in the resist.
MO Exposure Optics® is a unique illumination optics specifically designed for SUSS mask aligners. It is based on micro-lens plates instead of macroscopic lens assemblies. A simple plug & play changeover allows for a quick and easy changeover between different angular settings including the functionality of both classical SUSS HR and LGO illumination optics.
The telecentric illumination which is provided by the MO Exposure Optics improves light uniformity and leads to a larger process window. In consequence, this causes yield enhancements. MO Exposure Optics also decouples the exposure light from the lamp source thus small misalignments of the lamp do not affect the light uniformity. A decoupled light source saves setup and maintenance time and guarantees uniform illumination conditions during the full life-time of the lamp.
SUSS mask aligners are equipped with a WEC head system that allows reaching the parallelism between substrate and mask with a micrometric precision.
Simulation of lithographic processes
A simulation of lithographic processes makes the selection of optimal settings for process parameters possible without long-winded trial and error sessions. The multi-functional simulation software of lithographic processes “Lab”, which SUSS MicroTec distributes together with the supplier, GenISys, first and foremost allows the operator better process control. It offers all the required simulation functionality for an integrated design and process development, as well as verification and optimization. At the same time it covers all the process steps from illumination shaping and mask layout optimization up to photo resist processing. Additionally, modern 3D simulation functions improve the model visualizations.
The combination of MO Exposure Optics and the for SUSS optics custom-developed optical models in Lab facilitates customer-specific design optimization of the exposure filter plates, which in turn leads to an improvement in pattern fidelity.
Customer Specific Illumination Shaping and Mask Layouts
Combining optimization of mask layouts and the light source (source mask optimization), a procedure from projection lithography, makes it possible to reduce pattern inaccuracies due to illumination errors, processing artifacts and diffraction. A combined selection to match the exposure filter plates with the mask patterns (OPC = optical proximity correction) to customer specific requirements allows considerable expansion of the lithographic process functionality.
A simulation platform permits modeling of process parameters such as mask patterns and illumination parameters. This facilitates the exposure and mask patterns to be set for specific production situations with a reduced experimental effort, and reduces illumination and process errors.
Source mask optimization, together with SUSS MicroTecs customizable MO Exposure Optics® form an important contribution to improvement of process stability in mask aligner lithography.
Imprint lithography represents a cost-effective and highly reliable means of transferring three-dimensional nano- or micro-scale patterns onto a wide variety of substrates.
For the imprint, a stamp is brought into contact with a photosensitive material on the substrate. The photoresist fills out the three-dimensional pattern of the stamp and then solidifies under UV light. Parameters such as pattern topography, structure resolution and aspect ratio have a considerable influence on the process quality.
Thanks to its compatibility to well-established semiconductor processes, imprint lithography plays a key role in the development and production of DFB lasers, HB LEDs, wafer-level cameras and MEMS.
SUSS MicroTec solutions for imprint lithography are based on manual mask aligner platforms and support a wide range of materials and substrate with sizes up to 200 mm. Furthermore, SUSS platforms provide the capability of aligning and levelling stamps to substrates, as required by many imprint applications. Imprint equipment can also be retrofitted to SUSS mask aligners which are already in the field.
Depending on process requirements, SUSS MicroTec offers different imprint technologies on its mask aligners.
SCIL (substrate conformal imprint lithography) technology is particularly suitable for high demand imprint processes. Here a soft stamp is used in combination with a hard but flexible glass carrier, thereby achieving superior evenness of contact and exceptionally high fidelity in pattern transfer.
Imprinting results from capillary forces rather than pressure so that any changes in structure are avoided during the contact process. Furthermore, the sequential contact routine does not allow air gaps to form, which results in extremely high yields and increases productivity.
As a result of its excellent structure replication and high uniformity, SCIL technology is suited for all highly demanding processes where a high-quality etching mask is employed, such as the production of optical elements and MEMS/NEMS as well as in the production of HB LEDs and VCELS. SCIL technology was developed in collaboration with Philips Research.
Using UV-NIL (UV nano-imprint lithography) SUSS MicroTec offers a classic imprint process to transfer patterns having a resolution down to 50 nm with superior fidelity. The transfer of the patterns is achieved using a hard quartz glass stamp, which is brought into contact with a UV-sensitive photoresist on the substrate. This setup allows very precise control of process parameters such as pressure, process gap and duration. The UV-NIL method allows the highest resolution of the three SUSS MicroTec imprint processes and is recommended for all R&D setups due to ease of use.
Fusion bonding refers to spontaneous adhesion of two planar substrates. The process involves rinsing the polished discs and rendering them largely hydrophilic, then placing them in contact and tempering them at high temperatures. Plasma pretreatment allows the substrates to be bonded at room temperature.