IMEC, ICOS Vision Systems Focus on 3D Packaging Metrology

ICOS Vision Systems Corporation NV (Nasdaq and Euronext: IVIS), a leading supplier of inspection solutions for the semiconductor industry and IMEC, a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology, have agreed to work together under a two-year Joint Exploration and Development Program (JEDP), in the field of inspection and metrology for three dimensional (3D) packaging. According to market analysts, the market for 3D packaging will grow rapidly over the next years, driven by the quest for smaller and higher performance Integrated Circuits (IC’s).

Research will be performed at the IMEC laboratories and ICOS will provide technology and equipment for inspection and metrology. The joint research program will concentrate on the development and optimization of several 3D packaging processes for IC’s, including Wafer Level Packaging (WLP), flip chip, systems-in-a-package (SiP) and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and on the optimization of the 3D metrology methods for these applications. The program will be closely connected to IMEC’s industrial affiliation program (IIAP) on 3D stacked IC’s. The IIAP program brings together the researchers of IMEC and of world-leading suppliers of IC’s, to jointly develop the technologies of future generation products.

“We are impressed with IMEC’s research programs on semiconductor packaging and are delighted to join their international consortium,” said Gust Smeyers, ICOS’ Senior Vice President for Research and Development. “We look forward to working together with IMEC and the largest IC manufacturers around the world on the development of advanced 3D packaging processes. This program underscores our technical leadership in our field and our unrelenting commitment to invest in the technologies and products of the future.”

“Packaging is becoming an increasingly important part of semiconductor manufacturing and we are expanding our research efforts in the packaging field, including a large research program on 3D packaging,” said Gilbert Declerck, CEO of IMEC. “We are delighted to work with ICOS on the advancements of the 3D packaging processes and the metrology tools that are needed.”

About ICOS Vision Systems
ICOS designs and manufactures inspection equipment for the semiconductor packaging industry. It is a world-leading supplier of equipment for the final visual control of chips before they are used in various applications, such as PC’s, cars or portable phones. ICOS’ systems perform two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) metrology and inspection as part of the final visual quality control step in the manufacturing of chips, wafers, flexible tapes for flat panel displays, sockets, substrates and solar cells. Aside from its complete systems, ICOS also offers inspection modules for integration in other equipment.

ICOS is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has R&D centers in Belgium, Germany and Hong Kong and sales and support offices in Japan, the USA, Singapore, Hong Kong and Korea and production facilities in Belgium, Hong Kong and China.

About IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC’s research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems.

As an expansion of its wireless autonomous microsystems research, IMEC has created a legal entity in the Netherlands. Stichting IMEC Nederland runs activities at the Holst Centre, an independent R&D institute that develops generic technologies and technology platforms for autonomous wireless transducer solutions and systems-in-foil.

IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1450 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2005, its revenue was EUR 197 million.