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Friday, July 02, 2010

Best of West Award

One of the fly-on-the-wall pleasures I get from helping manage SEMICON West is the unique ringside seat I get for the “Best of West” awards. We created the award a few years ago to recognize “important product and technology developments in the microelectronics supply chain.” The judges include some of the brightest minds in the universe and it’s a thrill to hear them to discuss the merits of various submissions.

Join me to announce the winner during a special ceremony on Wednesday, July 14, 2009 at 1:00pm (TechSITE North, North Hall, Moscone Center).

This year’s finalists are:

-JVX7200™ SiGe Metrology Tool from Jordan Valley Semiconductors Ltd. combines advanced high-resolution X-ray diffraction (HRXRD) and X-ray reflectivity (XRR) channels to provide composition, thickness, strain, relaxation characterization and metrology for epitaxial layers such as SiGe and SiC, which are required for strained silicon processes. Additionally, the XRR channel can provide valuable information on other thin-films, such as those found in high-k gate stacks. The tool is capable of providing rapid, in-line measurements and analysis on both blanket and product wafers.

-VHX-1000 Digital Microscope from Keyence Corporation is the first system that integrates the functionality of stereoscopes, metallurgical microscopes, measuring microscopes and scanning electron microscopes into an all-in-one imaging, measuring and report-generating microscope. The VHX-1000 has the ability to quickly and easily capture fully-focused, high-resolution images for analysis, providing solutions for some of the most common difficulties in modern material inspection.

-NSR-S620D Ultra-High Productivity Immersion Scanner from Nikon Corporation incorporates the Streamlign platform and a 1.35 numerical aperture lens to satisfy the aggressive demands of double patterned lithography at 32 nm, with extendibility to 22 nm applications. The S620D targets 200 wafers per hour, maximizes yield with 2 nm overlay and superior CDU, and enables rapid installation.

A disappointing aspect of the Awards is how few exhibitors take advantage of the free opportunity. The only serious requirement is that it must be a new product introduced this year. It amazes me that so many exhibitors--big companies with living, breathing marketing staffs--don't submit an entree. Its not that they don't have new products; I see their press releases, websites, hear from analysts, and see their presentations at other industry events.

Maybe they are just afraid to lose (entrees are confidential)? Maybe they are too busy preparing Powerpoint presentations, going to meetings, and immersed in booth planning details. I don't get it. If I had a new product that people sweat blood and tears to develop, and spent money to promote it at a trade show, I would be livid that no one could take the time to enter it into the Best of West award program.

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