IQE enhances test and measurement capabilities with automated wafer inspection tool from Nanotronics

13 June 2012

Cardiff, UK, 13 June 2012: IQE plc (AIM: IQE, "IQE" or the "Group"), the leading global supplier of advanced semiconductor wafer products and services to the semiconductor industry, has enhanced wafer inspection capabilities at its Cardiff facility with the acquisition of a new automated wafer inspection tool supplied by Ohio based Nanotronics Imaging.

The nSPEC(TM) tool enhances existing manual microscopy inspection by allowing automated loading and scanning of III-V semiconductor wafer products including GaN, GaAs and InP based materials. The tool has built in intelligence to enable repeatable and quantifiable object recognition to identify, categorize and record wafer features in real-time.

The acquisition of the tool by IQE for use in its cleanroom facilities in Cardiff, UK, follows an extensive six month evaluation where the reliability and repeatability was compared with existing inspection techniques. This is the second nSPEC(TM) tool to be installed at IQE, the first unit having been commissioned and in use at the Group's manufacturing facility in Somerset, New Jersey.

Eliot Parkinson, General Manager of IQE's III-V manufacturing facility in Cardiff commented: "The new automated inspection system offers a compelling alternative to manual microscope inspection, with greater repeatability and significantly reduced chance of human error."

Matthew Putman, CEO of Nanotronics Imaging, said: "Rapid inspection that gives repeatable and useful results needs to be thought of as a modern technology like the personal computer used to be, and the smart phone is now. What has traditionally been too expensive, too complicated, and provided too little relevant information now needs to have all required features and more so that all companies using wafer inspection tools can have best in class technology that is affordable. We are at a point of technological convergence, where our engineers can develop such a tool. We are also pleased to have worked with a global leader IQE to evaluate our tool in a high volume, semiconductor wafer manufacturing environment."