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Prestigious Research Institute a Strategic Win for EV Group
EV Group (EVG), a leading supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology and semiconductor markets, today announced that Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF--one of 57 institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft dedicated to applied optics and precision applications-oriented research--selected EVG's UV-based nanoimprint lithography (UV-NIL) step and repeat system for its leading-edge optoelectronic research efforts. The Institute will be using the UV-NIL stepper for micro-lens mastering and molding for a host of micro-optics applications, including fiber optics and CMOS image sensors for wafer-level cameras, as well as for other nanoimprinting applications.
EVG's unique step and repeat imprinting approach integrates a lens master generation capability, which augments traditional single-step processes. This added capability enables the creation of a lens master for working stamp fabrication and subsequent full-wafer lens micro-molding. The system also offers significant cost-savings advantages, particularly compared to traditional lens master fabrication techniques, including the elimination of post-processing steps, the flexibility to use a variety of commercially available resists, and increased throughput. Pulling from its expertise in alignment systems, EVG's UV-NIL stepper features sub-micron alignment accuracy, resulting in improved yield as well as device performance.
"We are continuing to push the envelope in micro-optics research, and as such are looking for equipment partners that offer flexible, innovative, yet cost-effective systems that keep us on the cutting edge," said Dr. Peter Dannberg, group leader "Micro-optics Technology" of Fraunhofer IOF. "After evaluating solutions from several nanoimprint lithography suppliers, we ultimately selected EVG's system following positive demo results as well as for its superior micro-lens mastering and nanoimprinting capabilities. The process flexibility its UV-NIL stepper offers is a significant value add as well since it provides us with the ability to utilize it for a variety of applications."
"This opportunity to partner with a bellwether research institute such as Fraunhofer IOF is significant to us on many levels," noted Dr. Thomas Glinsner, head of product management for EV Group. "EVG's history is deeply rooted in serving R&D environments where there is a need for high-performance tools that are flexible and cost effective. Working closely with R&D universities and institutions is how we started our business, and over the years, it has opened new markets to EVG, allowing us to be involved in technologies from R&D infancy through high-volume commercialization. We are thrilled to be working with a world-renowned institute like Fraunhofer, and look forward to the exciting new opportunities our partnership may bring."
Nanoimprint lithography is gaining adoption in leading-edge R&D for various devices including wafer-level cameras, where lower manufacturing costs without sacrificing pattern fidelity is key to meeting the demands from markets such as mobile phones and optics. EVG has been active in UV-NIL since 1997, and has since worked with various industry partners and R&D institutions on developing nanoimprinting technologies. Among its high-volume customer base is Heptagon Micro-Optics Pte Ltd. in Singapore, who selected EVG's IQ Aligner for high-volume microlens production announced in July 2008.
About Fraunhofer IOF
The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena was founded in 1992 and carries out customer-specific developments in fields of optical system technology with the objective of controlling light--from its generation, guidance and manipulation to its ultimate application. Focus of the research is put on multi-functional optical coatings and its characterization, micro- and nano-structure technology for optics, micro-optical systems, beam guiding optics, high-power fiber lasers and their application, optical measurement systems and sensors, fine mechanical precision systems and procedures of optics assembly. The competences of about 140 employees include the complete value chain from optics and mechanics design, development of manufacturing processes for optical and mechanical components and system integration to prototyping and small pilot series production.
The Fraunhofer IOF is a competent partner to local, national and international industries and a contractor to the public sector in the field of optics and photonics that supports the transition of innovative ideas into new products. The customers of Fraunhofer IOF come from the markets information and communication, illumination, transport and traffic, production, life sciences, medical technology, astronomy and aerospace, pollution conservation and security.
About EV Group (EVG)
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, Ariz.; 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.
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