Our SEMI Standard reticle pods and cassettes have been tested and approved by ASML, Canon, Nikon and Ultratech.

The SEMI Standards E111 and E112 were developed to try and achieve reticle pod compatibility across different tool sets – they have helped to focus the industry towards a common solution for reticle handling based on the existing SMIF (Standard Mechanical InterFace) Standard.

However, SMIF had already been used for reticle handling for over a decade before SEMI Standards E111 and E112 were published, so not all equipment that is currently in use follows the latest SEMI specifications. So purchasing a SEMI Standard reticle pod does not guarantee that it will work on all your existing equipment, nor on equipment you may purchase in the future.

But you can be assured, with 30 years of experience in SMIF-based reticle handling – far more than any other independent supplier – Microtome is aware of most common compatibility issues that can arise and has already addressed them.

Furthermore, our proactive engineering-based approach to pod and cassette development means that if any new compatibility issues are identified we can probably solve them too.

Wherever it is practically possible, our R&R™ service can then be used to upgrade and recondition existing units to ensure their continued satisfactory operation in the fab.

We can, and often do, provide custom solutions that will work with any toolset.

With Microtome, compatibility is
virtually guaranteed.
SEMI Standard Cassette Detection On Brooks ISE-R150 Load Ports
A customer who was evaluating our SEMI Standard multi reticle cassette (type 99600-00) discovered that different pieces of equipment in his fab fitted with Brooks ISE-R150 load ports have very different modes of operation.

The Brooks load port is not compliant with SEMI Standard E19.3, which says that pod detection sensors should be located at the pod periphery. The Brooks pod detection sensors are located near the middle of the load port door, where they must be activated by ribs on the underside of the SMIF base (pod door).

Unfortunately these rib features are not specified in any SEMI Standard so pod detection is not guaranteed.

Furthermore, one equipment maker designed their software to use these sensor switches in an abnormal way they require the pod detection sensor not to be activated when a multi-reticle cassette is loaded onto their equipment.

This combination of a non-compliant sensor design and the inconsistent way it is used by different equipment makers means that it is impossible to guarantee that a SEMI Standard reticle cassette will operate correctly on all equipment.

Our solution was to redesign the base of our cassette with a recess so that the Brooks sensor is not triggered by the ribs on the underside. Two sockets are added to accept removable pegs that trigger the Brooks sensors, one of which is shown in the photo above.

These sensor pegs are not required for use with SEMI Standard E19.3 compliant equipment. However, if the 99600-00 cassette will be used on equipment fitted with Brooks load ports and the pod presence sensors are required to detect the cassette, these optional removable pegs (part no. 99000-00P) should be ordered. They can be fitted at the factory if they are ordered with the cassette, or they can be easily retrofitted by the user.

SEMI Standard Multi Reticle Pod Detection On Murata Pod Stocker
It was reported to us that a customer's new reticle pod stocker would not reliably detect the 21321-00F multi reticle SMIF pod. The problem was traced to the higher gloss and transparency of our side panels compared to other pods.

The stocker's reflection sensor (mounted off-specular) could not collect enough scattered light from the front panel to register the presence of the pod. Another sensor beam also passed straight through the side panels without undergoing sufficient absorption to register the pod.

We therefore modified the pod front panel by adding two small laser-etched areas for the reflection sensor beam to strike. This increased the light scattering power of the panel enough to trigger the sensor. The stocker manufacturer then moved his transmission sensor so that its position coincided with an opaque part of our pod.

So, through close collaboration with the customer and his equipment manufacturer we have been able to ensure that our SEMI Standard Multi Reticle SMIF Pod is compatible with another new piece of fab equipment .

If you encounter any compatibility issues when using our products, please contact us and we will try to resolve them for you in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible.