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Updated: July 14th, 2008 10:13 AM CDT

Heptagon Micro-Optics Pte Ltd. Adopts EV Group's IQ Aligner for Patterning Microlenses for Next-Generation CMOS Image Sensors

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via PRNewswire

ST. FLORIAN , Austria , July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- EV Group (EVG), a leading supplier of wafer bonding and lithography equipment for the MEMS, nanotechnology and semiconductor markets, today announced that Heptagon Micro-Optics Pte Ltd. in Singapore -- a wholly-owned subsidiary of Finnish-Swiss wafer-scale micro-optics manufacturer, Heptagon -- has purchased an advanced IQ Aligner for UV-based nanoimprint lithography (UV-NIL). Specifically, the IQ Aligner will be used by Heptagon for high-volume UV-NIL patterning of microlenses for CMOS image sensors. Set to cost-effectively enable the development of smaller, next-generation camera modules for mobile phones, optical mice and digital cameras, among other electronic devices, the IQ Aligner has been in production since May 2008-specifically for Heptagon's high-volume, 200-mm glass wafer micro-lens production.

The IQ Aligner, one of EVG's more versatile precision alignment tools, was further developed to address an emerging application -- UV-NIL -- as well as top side, bottom side, large-gap and IR alignment for standard lithography and bond alignment applications. Following Heptagon's successful production results earlier on with EVG's first-generation aligner used for UV-NIL in production, the EVG640, the manufacturer teamed with the company to optimize the IQ Aligner's multiple processing capabilities from R&D to high-volume production. This proved to be an effective strategy to meet the subsidiary's stringent cost and manufacturing requirements.

"We're excited for the opportunity to work closely with Heptagon to quickly and cost-effectively enable its next-generation processes," noted Paul Kettner , EV Group's Asia-Pacific sales director. "Not only were we able to install the tool and process transfer in record time, we are extremely pleased to see the IQ Aligner meeting such challenging technical requirements in a high-volume manufacturing environment. This is an exciting new application area for this system and we couldn't be more pleased to be serving Heptagon with one of our finest technology capabilities."

NIL is an emerging lithography approach not only limited to resolve features in the nanometer range, but also in the micron and even in the sub-millimeter regime. Among several NIL technologies, soft UV-NIL is the ideal method to pattern large areas in a single step imprinting mode. Soft UV-NIL is gaining broader use for optical applications, particularly for high-volume production of arrays of microlenses for CMOS image sensors due to cost-of-ownership benefits when using working stamps replicated from a master.

About Heptagon

Heptagon, a privately held company, designs and manufactures advanced micro-optics products for OEM suppliers. Heptagon's components are used in many applications including CMOS imaging, LED lighting, display, optical communications, consumer electronics and industrial optics. Heptagon's primary operations are in Switzerland and Singapore and it has a U.S. subsidiary in Silicon Valley, California, USA .

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