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Semiconductor Industry

The semiconductor industry presents some of the most interesting and challenging problems in the design of inspection and fabrication equipment, and in facility design. Issues that couple structural dynamics, acoustics, magnetic fields, e-beam, optics, digital signal processing and control, are often interdependent. We have been providing vibration, acoustic, and magnetic field consulting services to the semiconductor industry since the late 1980s. We worked many long days though the semiconductor boom, kept busy helping clients stay competitive through the downsizing, and are helping engineering teams in this new phase of rethinking old designs and pushing new technology forward. As vibration consultants, acoustic consultants, and magnetic field consultants, our work has added to the design evolution of countless semiconductor manufacturing tools over the last couple of decades, as well as to testing and engineering mythologies used widely in the development of these tools today.

SEM image without disturbance
sem image with distortion from vibration
magnified image of distorted sem image

SEM Images, critical dimension tools have degraded performance with image disturbance

Some of the metrology equipment that we have consulted on include SEM tools (electron microscopes), CD SEM tools, ELF systems, FIB tools, TEM tools, AFM (atomic force microscope) systems, profilometers, wafer steppers, interferometers, ellipsometers, and SPM tools. These tools are manufactured by companies such as KLA-Tencor, Veeco, Applied Materials, Rudolf Technologies, Nikon, Wyko, Zygo, Sensys, JEOL, Amray, Schlumberger, Thermawave, FEI, and Nanometrics. 
(see our full Client List).

sensitive tools for semiconductor development
measuring distortion on SEMs

Semiconductor development and manufacturing has some of the most sensitive tools of the hightech industries we work with. Knowing how to turn a resolution design spec into a set of usable engineering design criteria is an area of expertise we have worked hard to refine. Image resolutions of less than 1 nanometer rms of disturbance from the combined affects of floor vibration, on board vibration, magnetic field, and acoustics noise are now common in the industry. We have made the process of untangling the source, disturbance path, and structural dynamics puzzle our niche expertise over the last 30 years.

comparison of vertical acceleration graph
frequency response functions from various location graph

Response Dynamics performs site evaluation measurements (See Site Evaluations ), including vibration site surveys for new and existing critical equipment. The site evaluation measurements involve making floor vibration, floor stiffness, stray magnetic field, and acoustic noise measurements to determine whether the proposed locations are suitable for adequate operation of critical equipment.

1/3 octave band center frequency

If a facility is found to have excessive floor vibration, acoustic noise, or stray magnetic field, then we work closely with the facility owners to identify the most cost-effective solution. The solution may involve reduction/isolation of the disturbance source, active cancellation of the disturbance at the sensitive tool, modification of the floor system, or tool improvement (such as with tuned mass dampers).

Whether making a few dynamic measurements, or a full modal analysis, we have over 30 years of experience making these measurements and solving structural dynamics issues. Our VP of Engineering, Henry Bittner, MSME, has been with our company, and in the field solving structural dynamics issues, for over 24 years. We love what we do and are at the very top of our unique field. 

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