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New Nikon Software Improves Yield by Identifying Likely-to-Fail Die. Software Runs on Enhanced NEST Manager Operating System for I-line and G-line Imaging Tools.

Belmont, California, January 18, 2001 -Nikon Precision Inc. (NPI) has released its first application software product that helps improve yield for imaging tools by identifying where die are likely to fail. The software, called Hot Spot Detection, runs on the improved NEST™ (Nikon Enhanced System Technology) Manager operating system for the company’s model 6-10 i- line and g-line steppers.

The software enables focus data collection at each die and statistical wafer mapping of that data to detect the presence of a particle on the wafer chuck. The results can be sent to a host computer to automatically stop the lot, saving considerable rework expense.

The newly released NEST Manager upgrade, which reduces overhead up to 200 percent, offers an improved Windows NT graphical user interface (GUI) and additional functionality over previous versions of NEST. These features combined with the improved data processing capability of NEST, provides customers with increased wafer output from their existing production capacity. “Nikon Precision is continuing its efforts to assure the success of its customers by offering upgrades to enhance the performance and prolong the life of our installed base of imaging systems,” states Chris Hayden, Nikon’s senior manager of after-market operations. “In addition, our software department is developing other applications similar to Hot Spot Detection that will identify problems such as alignment shift that lead to yield loss,” he added.

NEST Manager monitors the operation sequence of the imaging tools. Detailed sequence monitoring information and process parameters are logged into a file for use in analyzing machine performance, resulting in improved diagnostic capability and more efficient troubleshooting. NEST also can generate a snapshot of daily process history, making it possible to easily review machine utilization and throughput.

Nikon Precision Inc. is the North American subsidiary of Nikon Corp., the world leader in lithography equipment for the microelectronics manufacturing industry with more than 6,200 units installed worldwide. Nikon offers the most extensive selection of production-class steppers and scanners in the industry. These products serve the wafer, photomask, flat panel display, and thin-film magnetic head industries. Nikon Precision provides service, applications, training, technical support, sales and marketing for Nikon in North America.

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Contact:
Susan Bernardi
Nikon Precision Inc.
(650) 508-3819
sbernardi@nikon.com