Standort und Hauptgebäude von Bar Lev ZEISS SMS in Israel

The future of semiconductor lithography is taking shape in seven different locations all over the world. SMT teams are hard at work in Jena, Wetzlar, Rossdorf and Oberkochen (in Germany), Dublin and Danvers (in the USA) and, last but not least, Israel!


Israel is a high-tech country. It is ranked seventh in the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking 2021 – after Silicon Valley, but ahead of Shanghai, Tokyo and Seattle. Israel is also where the USB stick was invented, Apple’s facial recognition software was developed and the country boasts specialists in Google algorithms.

Between the Mediterranean and the Golan Heights

In 2008, ZEISS acquired Pixer Technology, a start-up company specializing in the optimization of mask parameters for photolithography. Ever since then, ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segment (SMT) has been carrying out research, development and production operations at the Bar Lev site, in the heart of an extensive industrial park north of Haifa. High-tech companies abound in this region and therefore are many well-trained IT- and hardware-specialists there. It is also home to famous equipment manufacturers such as KLA (a leader in process control) and Applied Materials (a leader in materials engineering solutions), along with software companies and hardware producers.

Portrait of Dr. Thomas Scherübl

Israel is a fascinating country and an innovative location for ZEISS. I am always positively surprised about the pragmatic approach of my team to solve problems quickly. Thinking out of the box and fast learning are an inherent part of the culture and everyday life. We are a diverse team where newcomers are working together with experienced semiconductor industry veterans. These combinations are key for our success to provide mask tuning systems to enable our customers to make better chips.

Dr. Thomas Scherübl

Head of Field of Business (FoB Tuning)

The ZEISS team in Bar Lev consists of a total of 55 employees from across different backgrounds – and this number is growing all the time. What’s more, job rotation means the team regularly obtains reinforcements from other SMT sites.

Portrait of Itzik Ofer - Head of Research and Development

Being a small group inside a small country means most of our suppliers and all our customers are outside Israel. Moreover, the nature of the semiconductors industry forces us to interact constantly with persons from different cultures, using different languages. This makes diversity one of the most important aspects in Bar Lev team daily work, no matter if you communicate with German ZEISS groups, a Japanese vendor or an American customer.

Itzik Ofer

Head of Research and Development

ForTune – the name says it all!

The Israeli team’s mask tuning solutions are called ForTune and are constantly redefining the possibilities and boundaries of photolithography. A specific laser processing of the photomask enables mask parameter optimization. This reduces errors during the exposure process. Technophiles may be interested to know that ForTune systems improve the wafer on-product overlay in the DUV range and specifically reduce the mix and match overlay in the EUV range.
In this way, ForTune helps semiconductor manufacturers comply with strict specifications and reduces the probability of process defects during wafer exposure.

Cleaning room of ZEISS SMT in Israel with an employee working in it on photomask solutions

Platforms for mask systems

Besides tuning solutions, the team in Bar Lev supports key projects of ZEISS SMT in engineering. They develop platforms for complementary ZEISS mask systems. Two examples are the Particle Removal Tool (PRT), which can specifically remove tiny particles from finished masks, and the AIMS fab neo mask qualification system, which can increase the level of automation in the production environment.

Portrait of Yoni Hauber ZEISS SMS - Head of Operations & Supply chain

Our integrative approach encompasses different cultures, religions, people and high-tech methods. Our international, multicultural team works toward the same goals. That makes sense and it’s good fun. We support our SMT colleagues in Germany by working together on the further development of our portfolio. Greetings to Europe from the team here!

Yoni Hauber

Head of Operations & Supply chain

Progress from Israel

SMT staff in Bar Lev have big plans. In the meantime, they are a global player for the semiconductor industry and the order books are well filled. They are determined to enhance their mask tuning system software and hardware, and to win further market shares. Their target groups include mask shops and wafer fabs. It’s a team task that requires a joint effort to succeed. Interaction with other product teams and/or Sales and Service Companies (SSCs) has therefore been increasing on an ongoing basis in recent times.
The tasks within the framework of these partnerships are also growing. Further development of the mask tuning portfolio and expansion of platform development expertise are just two examples. In concrete terms, that also means taking over production management tasks for other ZEISS product fields – for Metrology, Repair and Process Control Solutions, for instance.
Having more tasks calls for additional keen minds and helping hands, so the multicultural ZEISS team is looking for reinforcements.

Portrait of Karen Avraham, Head of Human Resource & Business Infrastructure

Success forges a bond. Having once again pushed the physical boundaries of optics, we aim to be pioneers not only in technology but also with our people. Israel is a fantastic country, with fantastic people combining lots of history and cultures. Building a diverse, talented and smiley team is one of our main targets. Our team spends lots of it’s free time together, enjoying sports activities, nature hikes, picnics and even family gatherings, since we feel we are one big ZEISS family in Israel.

Karen Avraham

Head of Human Resource & Business Infrastructure

Portrait of Dr. Thomas Scherübl
Author Dr. Thomas Scherübl Leiter des Field of Business (FoB Tuning)

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