A manufacturer of semiconductor equipment required a system to create waveforms in assistance with the discharge of molten metal used in silicon wafer processing.
Using the NI PXI platform and LabVIEW software platforms we created an Arbitrary Waveform Generator capable of supporting our customer’s semiconductor equipment and improving their high-speed and high-sample rate waveform control.
Semiconductor Technology & The Cyth Process
Our client is a manufacturer of semiconductor equipment deployed in every major silicon wafer fabrication site in the world.
One of the machine’s main functions is driving a microscopic piezo coil that disperses metal particles when shocked with a specific waveform.
These precision metal particles are being released at a rate of 2000-100,000 particles per second within a vacuum chamber.
The waveform drives the piezo which controls the shape, size, and timing of the particles.
The waveform generator was tightly coupled with an oscilloscope card to synchronize digitized measurements signals.
Using the NI hardware and software platforms has enabled us to achieve these highly precise control requirements.
System PXI Card
43 MHz, 100 MS/s AWG,
16-Bit, Onboard Signal Processing
Arbitrary Waveform Generator
60 MHz, 8-Channel, 12-Bit PXI Oscilloscope
High Speed & High Sample Rate Waveform Measurement
Embedded Controller – FPGA-Based I/O, 2.4 GHz Quad-Core Processor PXI Controller
Data Logging & Control
Virtex-5 LX50 FPGA,
Data Logging & Control
Generations of Technology
The first generation of our system, a Simple Signal Generator (SigGen), produced sine, square, & triangular waves.
The 2nd & 3rd generations of the system, an Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG), allows us to program the shape of the wave & how it behaves. We can produce any arbitrary waveform by dictating thousands of samples within a period.
For the AWG to be improved, it has required updates to the firmware.
Required more than simply amplitude & frequency.
Our AWG collects waveforms, measures their length and characteristic shape, dictates how many points are required to describe them, sets a sampling rate, and figures out the number of points needed to achieve a certain sample rate.
We required 1000 samples a millisecond (>1MS/s) to best describe these produced waves, which were then upscaled to 200MS/s in the output stage for smooth signal quality.
Logic programmed into LabVIEW algorithms allows our engineering team to change certain variables and set a discrete value for the sample rate and the number of samples from the collected data.
Delivering an Outcome
Our Arbitrary Waveform Generator is centered around the NI PXI hardware and LabVIEW software platforms and is deployed into our customer’s semiconductor manufacturing equipment. This equipment is improving the capability of major wafer fabrication sites across the globe, enabling the next generation of semiconductors.