Heptagon Micro-Optics Pte Ltd. Adopts EV Group's IQ Aligner for Patterning Microlenses...

Mon Jul 14, 2008 9:01am EDT

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Heptagon Micro-Optics Pte Ltd. Adopts EV Group's IQ Aligner for Patterning
Microlenses for Next-Generation CMOS Image Sensors
IQ Aligner Selected for its UV Nanoimprint Lithography Capability

ST. FLORIAN, Austria, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Group (EVG), a leading
supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS,
nanotechnology and semiconductor markets, today announced that Heptagon
Micro-Optics Pte Ltd. in Singapore -- a wholly-owned subsidiary of
Finnish-Swiss wafer-scale micro-optics manufacturer, Heptagon -- has purchased
an advanced IQ Aligner for UV-based nanoimprint lithography (UV-NIL).
Specifically, the IQ Aligner will be used by Heptagon for high-volume UV-NIL
patterning of microlenses for CMOS image sensors.  Set to cost-effectively
enable the development of smaller, next-generation camera modules for mobile
phones, optical mice and digital cameras, among other electronic devices, the
IQ Aligner has been in production since May 2008-specifically for Heptagon's
high-volume, 200-mm glass wafer micro-lens production.
    The IQ Aligner, one of EVG's more versatile precision alignment tools, was
further developed to address an emerging application -- UV-NIL -- as well as
top side, bottom side, large-gap and IR alignment for standard lithography and
bond alignment applications.  Following Heptagon's successful production
results earlier on with EVG's first-generation aligner used for UV-NIL in
production, the EVG640, the manufacturer teamed with the company to optimize
the IQ Aligner's multiple processing capabilities from R&D to high-volume
production.  This proved to be an effective strategy to meet the subsidiary's
stringent cost and manufacturing requirements.
    "We're excited for the opportunity to work closely with Heptagon to
quickly and cost-effectively enable its next-generation processes," noted Paul
Kettner, EV Group's Asia-Pacific sales director.  "Not only were we able to
install the tool and process transfer in record time, we are extremely pleased
to see the IQ Aligner meeting such challenging technical requirements in a
high-volume manufacturing environment.  This is an exciting new application
area for this system and we couldn't be more pleased to be serving Heptagon
with one of our finest technology capabilities."
    NIL is an emerging lithography approach not only limited to resolve
features in the nanometer range, but also in the micron and even in the
sub-millimeter regime.  Among several NIL technologies, soft UV-NIL is the
ideal method to pattern large areas in a single step imprinting mode.  Soft
UV-NIL is gaining broader use for optical applications, particularly for
high-volume production of arrays of microlenses for CMOS image sensors due to
cost-of-ownership benefits when using working stamps replicated from a master.
    About Heptagon
    Heptagon, a privately held company, designs and manufactures advanced
micro-optics products for OEM suppliers.  Heptagon's components are used in
many applications including CMOS imaging, LED lighting, display, optical
communications, consumer electronics and industrial optics.  Heptagon's
primary operations are in Switzerland and Singapore and it has a U.S.
subsidiary in Silicon Valley, California, USA.
    About EV Group
    EV Group (EVG) is a world leader in wafer-processing solutions for
semiconductor, MEMS and nanotechnology applications.  Through close
collaboration with its global customers, the company implements its flexible
manufacturing model to develop reliable, high-quality, low-cost-of-ownership
systems that are easily integrated into customers' fab lines.  Key products
include wafer bonding, lithography/nanoimprint lithography (NIL) and metrology
equipment, as well as photoresist coaters, cleaners and inspection systems.
    In addition to its dominant share of the market for wafer bonders, EVG
holds a leading position in NIL and lithography for advanced packaging and
MEMS.  Along these lines, the company co-founded the EMC-3D consortium in 2006
to create and help drive implementation of a cost-effective through-silicon
via (TSV) process for major ICs and MEMS/sensors.  Other target
semiconductor-related markets include silicon-on-insulator (SOI), compound
semiconductor and silicon-based power-device solutions.
    Founded in 1980, EVG is headquartered in St. Florian, Austria, and
operates via a global customer support network, with subsidiaries in Tempe,
AZ; Albany, NY; Yokohama and Fukuoka, Japan; Seoul, Korea and Chung-Li,
Taiwan.  The company's unique Triple i-approach (invent - innovate -
implement) is supported by a vertical integration, allowing EVG to respond
quickly to new technology developments, apply the technology to manufacturing
challenges and expedite device manufacturing in high volume.  More information
is available at http://www.EVGroup.com.

Thomas Fodermeyer, Director Marketing and Communications of EV Group, +43 7712
5311 0, Marketing@EVGroup.com; or Marie Labrie, Vice President of MCA, Inc.,
+1-650-968-8900, ext. 119, mlabrie@mcapr.com
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