We often receive communications from customers describing their experiences when using our products. Customer feedback is one of the most important contributions that helps drive our development program forwards. We consider a close working relationship with our customers to be a critical part of our business.

These reports from customers are a testimony to our efforts to make the Microtome pod and cassette the most protective environment possible for a reticle. This page shows just a few examples from some of the messages we have been sent by our customers.

However, not all comment relates to the performance of our products; here are two that relate to our research into the damage of reticles by electric fields:

“I have known Gavin since I began to investigate ESD damaged reticles at Texas Instruments. His ground breaking work in this field is visionary and will yield some interesting discoveries once the rest of the world catches up with him.”

Patrick Gagnon, Metrology Equipment Engineer, Texas Instruments KFAB

“I have known Gavin since he introduced advanced reticle damage models and analysis to the SEMI Task Force Electrostatics group.  He brings an uncommon skill in analysis to this problem, as well as the ability to translate the more technical aspects for the general semiconductor community.  As with anything that involves change, there seems to be slow adoption of the guidance in SEMI Standard E163 that evolved through Gavin’s work. This is to the detriment of semiconductor operations world-wide and I hope to see that change."

Mark E. Hogsett
Application Engineering Manager
Simco-Ion Technology Group

IBM confirmed our discovery that very low field-induced voltage causes chrome migration (EFM). Guidance for protection against EFM is now included in the ITRS and as SEMI Standard E163.

TI and Qimonda have both conducted independent testing that supports our research into reticle electrostatic protection. They confirmed that not all supposedly "ESD protective" reticle handling practices currently used in semiconductor fabs and inside reticle handling equipment actually provide the protection that is intended.

You can find out more under New Developments or by contacting us.

If you are a Microtome user and you would like us to hear about any of your positive experiences, please e-mail them to info@microtome.com or post them to us at the address on the Contact page.

We offer no inducements for these reports, just the satisfaction of knowing that together we are helping to improve the protection of reticles.

If you are not yet a Microtome user but want to learn more about the benefits of working with us, please also contact us.
Storage rack collapse

One of our customers stored his reticles on a tall metal shelving rack in a storage room. This rack was accidentally knocked over and fourteen multi reticle pods and their reticle payloads fell to the floor. Several of the pods had to be returned to the factory for repair through our R&R™ service (see photo) but all of the reticles in the pods were well protected and escaped serious damage.

Still working after all these years

We were recently asked to check a type 67920-00 cassette that we sold in 1995 to see if it could have contributed to a reticle being broken during the commissioning of a new stocker. We checked the cassette thoroughly and found that it was still within specification after almost twelve years of use in a busy production fab. We suspect that the handling error was most probably caused by distortion of the plastic SMIF pod base, a persistent problem that led to the development of Microtome's first integrated SMIF reticle cassette, type 87620-00.

Product works faultlessly

"We've received the SMIF pod and the reticle cassette and have integrated them last week. As you have assured, the product works flawlessly and we are very satisfied with your product. Thank you for answering my long questions."

Wooshik Jung, Co-founder and VP, Semiconductor Eng. & Product Dev., Stratio Inc.

New pod and cassette overcome design problems

We recently supplied our latest pod and multi reticle cassette to Polar Semiconductor for evaluation under our 30 day no-obligation evaluation scheme. Daniel Bell, Materials Manager at Polar Semiconductor, reported back to us: 

"We have received the sample and we like the construction very much. It corrects many of the design problems of the previous version*."

[ * not from Microtome ]

This confirms that our program of continuous product improvement delivers results that are of direct value to users. If you would like to evaluate our latest products, please contact us.

Reduced particle contamination inside load port area

A major equipment maker was commissioning a new tool at a customer site where another brand of SMIF pod was being used. Particles were found inside the minienvironment around the load ports and chemical analysis identified the particles as the type of plastic used in the SMIF pods. Abrasion of the pod during opening and closing on the load port was creating particles that were falling inside the tool. The equipment maker then conducted the same tests with a Microtome SMIF pod and reported much cleaner operation.

Easier to clean - It's Official!

The litho manager at a major US chipmaker was evaluating our SMIF pods as an alternative to those he had been using for many years. He routinely uses a commercial pod cleaning service so he asked them for their report about the Microtome SMIF pod. He was pleased to be told that the Microtome SMIF pod was much easier to clean than the other type of SMIF pods the customer had been using. The customer was so pleased by this report that he told us about it and immediately started using our pods.