History of ZEISS Semiconductor Metrology Systems

How it all began

The Semiconductor Metrology Systems division is a leader in the field of metrology and repair solutions for photomasks. The success story began in 1994 when the company delivered its first Aerial Image Measurement System (AIMS™) for the semiconductor industry, the MSM-100. It is used to assess the functionality of photomasks. In collaboration with NaWoTec (now part of ZEISS). The company launched an innovative procedure for repairing defective photomasks.

Based on electron-beam technology, the MeRiT system is able to perform extremely precise repairs to eliminate critical photomask defects. The purchase of an Israeli start-up company expanded the portfolio with femtosecond laser technology. This laid the foundation for the development of various new products with which to optimize individual photomask parameters. One of the more recent innovative solutions is the PROVE system, which enables customers to measure the position accuracy of structures on photomasks.

Today these systems are standard in the semiconductor industry.

Milestones

1994
AIMS™ systems: MSM 100 (g-line, i-line, DUV). © ZEISS Archives

Delivery of the first AIMS™ system: MSM 100 (g-line, i-line, DUV).

2000
Photomask Inspection System AIMS™ fab (i-line, 248 nm). © Jan-Peter Kasper

First fully automated Photomask Inspection System AIMS™ fab (i-line, 248 nm).

2001
1925: Projection planetarium model I © ZEISS Archives

Carl Zeiss SMT enters into a collaboration with NaWoTec GmbH in Rossdorf, Germany, to bundle their competencies for the joint development of the MeRiT® MG electron-beam mask repair system.

2002
Fully automatic AIMS™ fab 193 © ZEISS Archives

First delivery of fully automated AIMS™ fab 193.

2004
Repair system MeRiT MG © ZEISS Archives

Market launch of MeRiT® MG mask repair system.

2006
AIMS™ 45-193i © ZEISS Archives

First delivery of AIMS™ 45-193i.

2008
Acquisition of Pixer technology (Israel) © ZEISS Archives

Carl Zeiss SMT aquires Pixer Technology in Israel for its SMS division.

2010
PROVE® system © ZEISS Archives

Market launch of the PROVE®system.

2011
Development of the AIMS™ EUV photomask analysis system © ZEISS Archives

The four semiconductor manufacturers – Intel, Samsung, Globalfoundries, and TSMC – sign an agreement to support the development of the AIMS™ EUV photomask analysis system.