Company Background

Ultratech, founded in San Jose, California in 1979, is a supplier of lithography and laser-processing systems used to manufacture semiconductor devices. The company’s broad product portfolio includes laser processing equipment and photolithography steppers, each of which has been tailored to meet specific applications or market requirements (1c). The company has invested in technology for high quality production equipment to improve performance of electronic components (1a).

In 2011, they announced the opening of an Asia Technology Center (ATC) in Taiwan.The ATC will support the company's Singapore international operations facility and enable cost-effective,leading-edge process development that can be transferred between sites or across Ultratech's customer base throughout the Pacific Rim (6).

In December 2012, Ultratech acquired the assets of Cambridge Nanotech, a developer and supplier of atomic-layer deposition (ALD) technology with hundreds of installed systems in the field (7).

Position in the Nanotechnology Value Chain

As a producer of lithography technology, Ultratech is positioned in the production equipment sector of the tools, equipment, and machinery stage of the value chain. The products designed and developed by Ultratech are a part of the electronics and energy industry.

Strategic Partnerships

Ultratech has developed an industry partnership in which they help suppliers to make sure that industry standards are environmentally conscious. Working with their suppliers, they have developed a goal to have at least 50% of major suppliers committed to documented Green program goals and objectives (1b).

In 2008, Ultratech acquired the rights to a collection of patents from IBM including fundamental patents around the area of rapid thermal annealing. The portfolio included hardware for thermal processing (annealing) of semiconductor wafers, as well as patents for temperature control and metrology. This acquisition strengthened and broadened Ultratech's annealing technology capability for ultra-shallow junction (USJ) formation (5).

Innovative Technology

Laser Processing: Ultratech has developed two technologies –Laser Spike Annealing (LSA) and Laser Thermal Processing (LTP) - to enable thermal annealing solutions at the 65 nm technology node and beyond. This laser-based anneal technology achieves very shallow, highly activated abrupt junctions at extremely low thermal budget, increases device yield and improves transistor performance (1d; 4). Based on Ultratech's proprietary long-wavelength annealing technology, their LSA100A provides significant cost of ownership, process uniformity, and process control advantages that make it an ideal tool for foundry manufacturing (4). In December 2010, Ultratech introduced the LSA100L, a dual-beam laser spike anneal system for leading-edge logic devices (2). The laser functions to heat the wafer surface and to provide local heat to the laser at the same time (2). This makes it so that temperatures can be significantly lower during other processes of the wafer production (2).

Lithography: Ultratech’s 1X lithography systems offer advantages in product performance in the nanotechnology manufacturing industry. Ultratech provides a selection of 1X systems with the resolution, depth of focus, alignment and substrate handling capabilities to meet a large range of lithography needs for the nanotechnology industry. These systems have been specifically designed for a wide range of nanotechnology applications including: automotive MEMS (accelerometers, pressure sensors, micro-gyroscopes) thin-film heads (TFHs), high brightness LEDs, laser diodes, inkjet print heads, rate sensors, microactuators, optical switches and biochips/microarrays (1e).

The Sapphire 100 lithography system was introduced in 2010 and can be used for manufacturing high-brightness light-emitting diodes (HBLED). The Sapphire 100 system offers the added advantage of Ultratech's patented Machine Vision System (MVS). The MVS delivers alignment flexibility with significant advantages over standard alignment techniques (3). Other products in this category include the NanoTech 160 and the NanoTech 190 (1e).

For more information, see the Ultratech location page.


  1. Ultratech (2012). Retrieved on June 28, 2012
    1. www.ultratech.com/about/profile.shtml
    2. www.ultratech.com/about/partnerships.shtml
    3. www.ultratech.com/products/index.shtml
    4. www.ultratech.com/products/laser_market.shtml
    5. www.ultratech.com/products/mems_market.shtml
  2. Nanowerk (2010, December 21). “Ultratech Introduces New Dual-Beam Laser Spike Anneal System.”  Retrieved on July 19, 2012 from www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=19517.php
  3. AZoNano (2010, February 9). “Ultratech Introduces Newest Lithography System for HBLED Manufacturing.” Retrieved on July 19, 2012 from www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=15838
  4. AZoNano (2010, February 4). “Ultratech’s LSA100 Systems to Support High Volume Production of Advanced Logic Devices.” Retrieved on July 19, 2012 from www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=15771
  5. AZoNano (2008, October 9). “Leading Lithography Supplier Acquires Patents from IBM for Semiconductor Wafer Annealing.” Retrieved on July 19, 2012 from www.azonano.com/news.aspx?newsID=8047
  6. Nanowerk (2011, May 12). “Ultratech Announces HB-LED Asia Technology Center in Taiwan.”  Retrieved September 12, 2012 from www.nanowerk.com/news/newsid=21325.php
  7. Montgomery, James (2012, December 20). "Ultratech buys Cambridge Nanotech assets, adds ALD tech." Retrieved May 2, 2012 from www.electroiq.com/articles/sst/2012/12/ultratech-buys-cambridge-nanotech...