INFICON Wins Patent for New Method to Control Critical Dimension Error

SYRACUSE, NY - April 12, 2004: INFICON (SWX Swiss Exchange and NASDAQ: IFCN) has been granted U.S. Patent Number: 6,700,950 for a new method for controlling critical dimension (CD) error in a high part-count, foundry-style semiconductor fab.

The method specifically addresses the issue of a fab manufacturing a large mixture of parts under one or more technologies using a common base of equipment, a configuration typical of foundry operations.

The newly patented method is available as an optional add-on module as part of NVS ARGUS Version 2.5.0, the leading commercial APC system for patterning control in microelectronic manufacturing.

"At the 90nm and 65nm production nodes, the ability to control the critical dimension distribution at the lithography step has become the number one correlator to yield and fab productivity. Furthermore, most fabs today are now operating in the 'foundry-style high-part-count' regime, where the product mixes are highly diversified and production runs are short and irregular," said Joseph C. Pellegrini, Director of Technology and Marketing for the INFICON Patterning Solutions product line.

"We have demonstrated that this new APC method will produce a 10% to 20% reduction in CD distribution versus all known competitive methods for run-to-run CD control. That extra 10% to 20% in process latitude could be the difference between profitable and unprofitable operation for many fabs," explained Pellegrini.

Results based upon fab data using the new method were published at the MNC CD Control Seminar in Tokyo, Japan on October 28, 2003.

A majority of non-foundry fabs also operate under high-part-count configuration and the percentage is increasing monotonically as the industry consolidates, pushing individual fabs to diversify to remain competitive. In addition to substantially improved CD control, end users will benefit by having more wafers qualify to run under APC control instead of manual control, which yields higher throughput.


INFICON is a leading developer, manufacturer and supplier of innovative vacuum instrumentation, critical sensor technologies, and advanced process control software for the semiconductor and related industries. These analysis, measurement and control products are vital to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end-users in the complex manufacturing of semiconductors, flat panel displays, magnetic and optical storage media and precision optics. INFICON also provides essential instrumentation for gas leak detection and toxic chemical analysis to the airconditioning/refrigeration, emergency response and industrial hygiene markets. Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, INFICON has manufacturing facilities in the United States and Europe and worldwide offices in the U.S., China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. For more information about INFICON and its products, please visit the Company's website at


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