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Title:  Core In Situ Sensing Technologies for Semiconductor Smart Manufacturing


At all levels of manufacturing, the semiconductor industry requires more detailed information at higher resolutions to judge the impact that components have on process equipment performance. As part of an Industry 4.0 Smart factory, the ability to sense all relevant parameters, connect components to the Digital Twins, and predict performance degradation or failure is critical to enabling automatic management of factory operations and efficient process control.

There are several categories of sensors and sensing technologies that provide the required data at the required resolution. In this discussion, we will focus on the following in situ sensing technologies as case studies: Gas Analysis using Mass Spectroscopy, Quartz Crystal Microbalance for process monitoring, and Radio Emission Spectroscopy (RES) for plasma monitoring using Inductive and Capacitive Pickups and Harmonic Frequency Discriminating Sensors.

These sensing technologies provide in situ observations that describe the health and condition of the process chambers, which gives insight into the reliability and quality of the processing conditions of substrates in process. Smart integrated sensors, when combined with comprehensive Digital Twins, provide the critical information layer required to understand substrate processing at a level that enables factories to make automated decisions faster.


Steve Lakeman

Mr. Steven Lakeman has 35 years of semiconductor industry experience.  He is the Senior Director of Business Development for INFICON Inc.  Steve heads up the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) group which develops and deploys software solutions to improve semiconductor fab efficiency and productivity.  The group includes the FabGuard team which provides products and on-site expertise for FDC, APC and eOCAP solutions.  The group also includes the Final Phase Systems (FPS) group.  INFICON acquired the Austin, Texas based company in 2018.  The FPS team provides software solutions and years of experience in fab scheduling, optimized WIP movement and metrology sampling optimization.  The IMS software suite is built on the principle of providing the most comprehensive Digital Twin available in semiconductor manufacturing.  The IMS group also includes an advanced applications development team that is developing novel sensor technologies to fulfill the promise of real-time in situ metrology.  

Steve joined INFICON in 1989 with a background in analytical systems sales.  In 1994 he became the product manager for INFICON’s mass spectrometer business and ushered in the automated use of complex analytical instrumentation in semiconductor manufacturing.  The effort was greatly enhanced by the acquisition of Low Entropy Systems (LES) in 1998.  The pairing led to FabGuard, the first sensor-based FDC system available in the industry.  In 2014, Steve was appointed Senior Director of Business Development for INFICON.  Since 2018, he has headed the IMS group at INFICON which is dedicated to pushing the forefront of Smart Manufacturing / Industry 4.0 in the semiconductor industry.

Niall Macgearailt has 28 years of experience working in semiconductor manufacturing operations, process, and equipment development including  12  years of R&D in the development of sensors and software products. Niall has expertise in  RF plasmas and data analytics. His experience includes working for semiconductor equipment manufacturers, various fabs in California, and 20 years at Intel.      

Niall Macgearalit