Release of PD Xpadion EX Reticle / Mask Particle Detection System

|   Press Release

Smart detection and removal of particle contamination using a single system to achieve the utmost efficiency and yield in semiconductor manufacturing processes

HORIBA, Ltd. is proud to release the PD Xpadion EX Reticle / Mask Particle Detection System on March 18th. As equipment indispensable to the lithography process of semiconductor production, many customers around the world have come to adore HORIBA’s series of particle detection (PD) systems, which celebrates 40 years of continued innovation to address a wide range of needs since it first launched in 1984. The new PD Xpadion EX builds upon the beloved features of the traditional PD Xpadion, enhancing its ability to not only detect but also remove particles, all within a single, comprehensive system.
HORIBA has also engineered a proprietary equipment front end module (EFEM) specifically designed to adapt the system for use with the overhead hoist transport (OHT) system found in semiconductor manufacturing plants. The PD Xpadion EX Reticle / Mask Particle Detection System not only drives greater efficiency and yield in semiconductor manufacturing processes but also contributes to the automation and labor savings vital to streamline manufacturing facilities and tackle the labor shortage.

The semiconductor's circuit formation process involves transferring its circuit pattern onto the wafer using an original pattern known as a mask or reticle during exposure.
Any dust or other particle contaminants on the reticle can cause quality defects and reduce yield, which is why manufacturers use particle detection systems. HORIBA released the PD Xpadion in 2021 to respond to higher inspection requirements stemming from EUV and other recent technological innovations.
Typically, manufacturers had to remove and feed a reticle or mask where particle contaminants were detected to a different device for cleaning or removal of surface particles. With growing demand for integration of detection and removal systems, HORIBA developed the PD Xpadion EX to reduce the risk of subsequent contamination during transfer, improve manufacturing process efficiency, and reduce the space required to install equipment in addition to satisfying a broad range of other requirements.

Metrology Product Line Manager Kosuke Matsumoto explains, “Analysis, measurement, and control needs are becoming more sophisticated and diverse than ever before in the semiconductor industry. We are working to further expand the functionality of the PD Xpadion EX to create a single system that does everything from analyzing particle components to measuring the coating thickness of the pellicle*1. HORIBA will continue to bring forth new possibilities in this way.”

*1 Coating to prevent particle contamination on the reticle/mask pattern surface.

PD Xpadion EX