MA12 Mask Aligner

Operator-Assisted Mask Aligner for Industrial Research and Cost-Effective Production

Based on the latest mask aligner technology, the MA12 is designed for operator-assisted alignment and exposure of wafers up to 300mm and square substrates and is suitable for industrial research and production. With its flexible handling and process control features the MA12 is the right tool of choice for advanced packaging applications like 3D wafer-level chip scale packaging as well as for the production and development of sensitive devices such as MEMS.

Highlights

Enhanced process control

Reliable handling of warped wafers and sensitive material

Excellent light uniformity

SUSS MicroTec Mask Aligner MA12

With its choice of alignment technologies and exposure optics adjustable to meet different exposure requirements the MA12 offers the flexibility needed in the development and adoption of latest lithography processes. The operator-assisted system maintains a high degree of process control and reliability in combination with the advantages of manual wafer handling.

Being based on the latest mask aligner technology the MA12 allows an easy transition of developed processes to SUSS MicroTec’s production aligner MA300 Gen2.

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. 

Highlights

  • Mask aligner for the highest level of alignment precision
  • Clear and stable pattern recognition even under poor constrast conditions

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

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

  • With its outstanding level of mechanical precision and stability, the SUSS mask aligner offers unmatched accuracy.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

Enhancing Alignment Precision

When stringent demands are made of overlay accuracy, the auto-alignment functionality of the standard system can be considerably refined. DirectAlign®, the SUSS MicroTec enhanced functionality for structure detection software, uses live images instead of patterns from an image memory system. The technology is based on the industry standard PatMax and achieves outstanding results. Using DirectAlign® for top-side alignment on a SUSS mask aligner allows accuracy of 0.5 µm to be achieved.

The use of Enhanced Alignment is recommended for challenging alignment processes with easily confused structures or restricted fields of view.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Operator-assisted systems maintain a high degree of process control and reliability in combination with the advantages of manual wafer handling.

Available for:

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

The mask aligner optionally offers an automatic filter exchange unit for up to four filters that are selected via process recipe. This removes the risk of operator errors and thus improves yield and effective throughput.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

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

  • Superior resolution as a result of diffraction-reducing optics
  • Process stability through the use of microlens optical systems

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

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.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

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.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

In this mode, a vacuum is drawn between mask and substrate during exposure. This results in a high resolution of < 0.8 µm.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

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.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

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.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

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.

Highlights

  • Excellent light uniformity over full exposure field
  • Stable light source
  • Customizable illumination by means of illumination filter plate exchange
  • "DUV-ready" process capabilities with fused silica micro optics
  • Special "down-sizing kits" for light compression to smaller wafer sizes

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

SUSS mask aligners are equipped with a WEC head system that allows reaching the parallelism between substrate and mask with a micrometric precision 

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

Operator-assisted systems maintain a high degree of process control and reliability in combination with the advantages of manual wafer handling.

Available for:

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

The mask aligner optionally offers an automatic filter exchange unit for up to four filters that are selected via process recipe. This removes the risk of operator errors and thus improves yield and effective throughput.

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

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.

Highlights

  • Complete simulation of the mask aligner lithographic process
  • Adjustable illumination parameters (collimation, spectral composition), custom-developed for all SUSS optics
  • Fast and flexible visualization and quantitative predictions in 1, 2 and 3D

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

Manual Mask Aligner

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.

Highlights

  • Stabilization of the light source utilizing MO Exposure Optics®
  • Optimization of the light source with exchangeable exposure filter plates
  • Mask optimization with optical proximity correction (OPC)

Available for:

Automated Mask Aligner

Semi-Automated Mask Aligner

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MA12 Datasheet 466kb
SUSS Product Portfolio 1371kb
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