Positioning Solutions for the Next Technology Node in Semiconductor Manufacturing.

PI supports semiconductor equipment suppliers worldwide with high-precision and reliable motion and control solutions in order to fulfill the high demands in semiconductor manufacturing: Both in the production and development of components used in systems and machines as well as for use in the highly sensitive semiconductor manufacturing processes themselves, e.g. for positioning and aligning masks, wafers or optics.

Challenges for Semiconductor Manufacturers and Equipment Suppliers

Today, semiconductor technology represents one of the most important industry sectors in the world. It paves the way for progress made in processor technology, data storage, signal processing, and opto-electronics and, therefore, facilitates for the next generation of microprocessors, memory chips, and power semiconductors. These semiconductor components are the prerequisite for essential developments in 6G technology, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud and Edge Computing, or Electric and Autonomous Vehicles. At the same time, these growing markets are placing high demands on semiconductor manufacturers: Even smaller and more complex integrated circuits (IC) with higher functional density and reduced energy consumption, shorter product and technology innovation cycles, higher volumes, and an increasing cost pressure.

Each equipment component and machine used by integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) or foundry companies for the manufacturing of semiconductor chips must follow these requirements. And also each of the demanding and sensitive manufacturing steps – both in the development of process-related technologies and the numerous processing steps a silicon wafer undergoes.

Lithography is a decisive process in the production. This is where the foundation for the functionality of the chips is laid i.e., processor speed, storage capability, space requirements, and power consumption. During the repetitive exposure process, smallest structures for printed circuit boards, transistors, and other components have to be transferred on the silicon wafer.

Measurement and inspection processes are necessary at all critical points in the manufacturing process to ensure high quality and reliability of the final products and also the yield of the cost-intensive chip production.

Positioning Solutions for the Requirements of Different Production Processes – Your Advantages with PI as Your Partner

Wide range of high-precision motion and control technologies
High-vertical range of manufacturing provides high design flexibility
Long-term component and system reliability for high availability
Copy Exactly Strategy to ensure consistent reliability
On-site support to ensure quick response times and availability
Customized Service Level Agreements (SLA)
Manufacturing in cleanrooms according to ISO 5 with special consideration of EUV requirements
A large patent portfolio ensures competitive advantage

In many manufacturing steps, the ability to move components with nanometer and even sub-nanometer precision and with high dynamics, or to hold a position precisely over an extended period of time, plays a crucial role.

PI supports its customers with advanced motion and control solutions for applications such as:

  • Photomask production:
    Mask writing, inspection, and repair
  • Wafer cutting:
    Sawing the wafer from the silicon monocrystal (ingot)
  • Resist structuring:
    DUV and EUV lithography, nanoimprint lithography (NIL)
  • Wafer and mask inspection (optical/electron microscopy):
    Detection of structural failures, defects, and particles
  • Wafer metrology:
    Measurement of the critical dimension (CD), overlay offset, and layer thickness
  • Wafer probing:
    Testing functionality and quality of photonic structures of photonic integrated circuits (PICs)
  • Wafer dicing:
    Laser-based separation of chips from the silicon wafer
  • Back-end production:
    Die and wire bonding, packaging, chip test


PI also offers positioning solutions outside of the actual production process, for example, for equipment in technology development, in the qualification of tools, for repairing masks, or for the production of test probe cards.

50 Years of Market Experience, Advanced Technologies, and Worldwide Service for High Availability

PI offers 50 years of experience in piezo technology and nanopositioning, a broad technological range, and a high vertical range of manufacturing in order to be able to develop and provide components and systems that are optimally adapted to the respective process: From sensors, piezo actuators as well as systems and motors through air bearing motion systems with linear motor drives up to controllers, drive modules, software, and firmware.

In addition, the EtherCAT®-based motion controller and drive solution from ACS, a subsidiary of PI, enable flexible and high-precision control of complex multi-axis systems for use in semiconductor manufacturing. For example, by employing intelligent gantry controls or servo control for subnanometer standstill jitter.

As a long-standing supplier to semiconductor equipment manufacturers, PI understands the requirements of the semiconductor industry and works closely with its customers right from the design phase to select solutions that can meet current requirements and support future technological trends and technology nodes.

With individual service level agreements (SLA) and global service hubs, PI is also able to respond to requirements at short notice and thus support reliable process performance. Due to the high quality and reliability of the components and systems – based on extensive long-term tests, manufacturing in cleanrooms with the highest cleanliness standards and a Copy Exactly Strategy – PI provides its customers high availability of the solutions.

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