Reverse engineering as a means to understand complex tool design

John Robertson, Brian Wales, Jon Weihmeir

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    The tools used in semiconductor processing are superb examples of advanced design for technology. They push the envelope of our process understanding and control in terms of physics, chemistry and mechanical precision and are self-contained microcosms of multi-disciplinary design. This paper describes a project to reverse engineer the design of an Anelva 1015 3-head sputtering tool. Cluster tools are now widely used in the semiconductor industry for metal and dielectric deposition. This is an early version that was donated by Intel to the Microelectronics Teaching Factory at ASU East. A 4-stage self-paced team project activity has been developed. The first stage parameterizes the sputter process using the known operational features of the tool. The second is a set of individual activities to quantify the features of the major sub-systems. The final stages bring the team together again to analyze the trade-offs in the final system and how it has since evolved for volume production. The reverse engineering approach allows many complex design issues to be appreciated in the context of the practical realization of a commercial tool. Comparisons with current-generation tools show the continuing evolution path and new design outcomes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)12181-12187
    Number of pages7
    JournalASEE Annual Conference Proceedings
    StatePublished - Oct 25 2004
    EventASEE 2004 Annual Conference and Exposition, "Engineering Researchs New Heights" - Salt Lake City, UT, United States
    Duration: Jun 20 2004Jun 23 2004

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Engineering


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