Volume 32 – Number 10
By Dr. Subodh Kulkarni, President and CEO, CyberOptics Corporation
In general, you can have very fast sensors that are not so accurate, or very accurate sensors that are not so fast. Having both at the same time has been critical to CyberOptics’ development. CyberOptics is fundamentally a sensor technology company focused on three key vertical markets. It makes high-precision and high-accuracy sensors for semiconductor, SMT and 3D scanning and metrology. The company designs, develops and manufactures sensors and integrates them into various systems for AOI and SPI, as well as coordinate measurement machines (CMMs) for various metrology applications.
CyberOptics’ multi-reflection suppression (MRS) technology is one of the key proprietary sensor technologies that it has leveraged across its target markets. The company also develops and manufactures proprietary wafer- and reticle-shaped sensors that are used for various measurements in semiconductor fabs world wide. Measurements include airborne particles, leveling, vibration, relative humidity, gapping, and teaching.
The company’s MRS technology meticulously identifies and rejects reflections caused by shiny objects, which is critical for accurate measurements. A combination of attributes really sets this technology apart. It starts with the architectural design that simultaneously captures and transmits various images in parallel, while fusing algorithms merge these images together for metrology-grade accuracy — all at the speed of production.
It is an advanced non-contact means of measuring x, y and z dimensions, similar to human eyes. We have two eyes that triangulate the images onto our retinas and we then infer distance. CyberOptics does the same thing with 3D sensing, using multiple cameras and projectors for measurement. Essentially, the technology suppresses the bad signals and tries to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio. The mathematical algorithm is what really gives the technology speed and accuracy at the same time. What the company is particularly good at and where it has a significant amount of IP is in its algorithms. It is the secret sauce if you will, that provides barriers to competition. The company has a team of experts who excel in this area and continue to advance its capabilities.
CyberOptics’ customers can inspect and measure things significantly faster and more accurately than they have been able to in the past. The images they see are excellent. Better quality images leads to better inspection, reduced false calls and increased first-pass yields. There are several compelling factors that contribute to the bottom line — saving time, saving expense and improving yields and productivity.
Applications for Inspection
There are also other applications where high-precision inspection is becoming more critical.
Solder paste inspection is one such area. This propelled the company to leverage the same sensor technology and integrate it into a new system — the brand-new SE3000™ 3D SPI system.
Traditional coordinate measurements can also be improved. CMMs can take hours or days to attain coordinate measurements, and are timeand resource-consuming to set up, program and to train workers.
Whether they are labs or full production environments, streamlining processes to save time and increase efficiencies is extremely important to manufacturers.
We are seeing an evolution from AOI to automated optical measurement (AOM). There is a real need for metrology applications in the manufacturing of a wide variety of products. PCBs, semiconductors, consumer electronics, and various parts all require highly precise measurements.
Since CMMs are quite slow, challenging to program, yet very accurate, CyberOptics recognized an opportunity to address this problem. Customers value the fact that they can obtain accurate height measurements in x, y and z with the company’s SQ3000™ AOI system. That enables customers to do a lot more than just inspection and deciding whether a product passes or fails. Currently, the company is getting a lot of traction with this measurement capability. This is the first time any AOI system can inspect and perform measurements at these speeds.
The company has leveraged its proprietary MRS sensor technology and combined it with an extensive coordinate measurement software suite for the new SQ3000 CMM system — an extension of the SQ3000 platform.
What sets this apart is the significant speed advantage without compromising accuracy. What would take hours or days with a traditional CMM, metrology-grade measurements with a 7 µm x/yresolution and 1 µm z-resolution, on all critical points, can be taken in seconds. Analysis and design changes can be done faster and time-tomarket can be accelerated. Similar to the company’s other systems, it is easy to learn and easy to program.
MRS technology is also being used in KLA-Tencor’s back-end semiconductor packaging inspection system where high-precision inspection is also critical. With its next generation of MRS sensors, the company expects to participate in the mid-end semiconductor space, with measurements down to 30 µm.
The semiconductor space is an area of explosive growth for MRS technology and is the company’s long-term focal point. Technology is developing faster than ever and CyberOptics is well-positioned to address the changing market.