As a contract manufacturer, we work to provide components and full assemblies to OEMs and other customers in a broad range of industries. From aerospace and defense parts to medical devices, our expert technicians, skilled engineers, and overall staff are dedicated to supporting quality and precision in all of our products and services.
One of the primary industries we serve are the fabricators of semiconductor components and assemblies. The parts we make at MultiSource Manufacturing LLC for the semiconductor components industry play integral roles in key production processes including microchip reticle handling with state-of-the-art steppers.
“Stepper” is a broad term for a processing system that moves reticles and wafers through the photo-engineering treatment. Similar to the development of film photographs, the photo-engineering process uses light application and chemical exposure to generate a semiconductor microchip. General stepper components include:
- Wafer loader and stage: These components are the initial stage of a stepper system. This stage loads a photoresist-coated silicon wafer into the lower front of the stepper. An automated system then moves the wafer into the alignment stage, readying it for exposure.
- Reticle loader and stage: A quartz reticle with an etched chrome pattern is entered into the stepper via reticle loader. It is then staged in alignment for exposure to multiple wafers with periodic realignment.
- Reticle alignment system: Precise automated alignment of the reticle is vital for effective wafer exposure in microchip processing. As the wafer is developed in alignment with the reticle it is moved on x and y axes. Multiple alignments are necessary for exact printing of circuitry onto the wafer.
- Illumination system: Once the alignment and printing processes are complete, the wafer is exposed to the illumination system. The illumination system uses a reduction lens with a pre-programmed exposure time and stepping movement to generate grid pattern.
- Chemical wash: When the illumination process is complete, the wafer is transferred to a chemical wash stage. This wash removes areas of the wafer that are not covered by photoresist, completing the microchip wafer development.
A wafer stepper system is a key tool in the development of semiconductor silicon wafers with high resolution and quality results in mass production. The fabrication of microchip reticle handling equipment like steppers is one of the many services the MultiSource network provides to the semiconductor industry. If you’re developing microchip wafers and fabricating other semiconductor components, contact MultiSource Manufacturing LLC at (952) 456-5500. Request more information or request a quote to get started with us today.