Reuben Hale, P.E.
Ph: (510) 507-1300
We have engineered solutions for a myriad of systems from nanometer level disturbances of scanning electron microscopes, interferometers, and atomic force microscopes, to micron level motions of giant mountain top telescopes, to centimeter operating deflection analysis of offshore oil rigs. We have worked on hundreds of systems and facilities for High-Tech industries (such as semiconductor, biotechnology, pharaceutical, nanotechnology, medical, communication, aerospace and defense), Heavy Industries, transportation, and commercial industries nationally, and worldwide, to improve performance, solve imaging, measurement, and vibration/acoustic design issues.
(See our Client list by industry).
In High-Tech industries we offer engineering consulting services to numerous companies in the development of wafer fabrication and metrology equipment, biotech test and imaging systems, and other sensitive devices. Our extensive experience with micro-vibration and acoustics issues in the structural dynamics of sensitive high-resolution manufacturing, testing and imaging systems, make us leaders in the field of sub-micron and nanometer technology.
Solving vibration problems requires more than just the right test equipment. Most importantly, it requires testing methodologies and insight developed with many years of seasoned experience. We perform Root Cause Analysis of vibration, imaging, and acoustical problems by characterizing the disturbance in the time and/or frequency domain, often analyzing multiple signal types. We characterize the system dynamics using a number of methodologies that involve the frequency resposne and input force. We are highly skilled at efficiently identifying and characterizing the key subset of dynamics that determine system response to the particular disturbance. Analysis of the signal processing is also a very important part of the puzzle. With the essentials of the disturbance puzzle characterized and understood, a set of possible solutions will become apparent to the team.
We work with engineering teams to identify and design solutions. Often those solutions may involve subtle modifications that affect the stiffness of a subsystem, its mass distribution, and an Effective Damping Treatment. We may also suggest modifications to control system parameters, or other system changes. We use our testing and analysis to explain why a system performs as it does, and why the modification will improve performance. Our experience allows us to be both efficient and thorough, minimizing troubleshooting, tool time, and prototype iterations.
We use of state-of-the-art digital data acquisition and analysis instrumentation, as well as specialized testing and analysis techniques, to provide the most cost effective solutions to a broad range of vibration and acoustic noise problems.
We provide assistance at several points along the product development cycle. Firstly, we provide assistance and guidance in the development of the conceptual and detailed design (often using a combination of analytic, numerical, and finite element modeling). Our experience allows us to see potential pitfalls and find winning solutions, as part of your team, in the start of the design process.
Once the prototype has been built, we perform measurement and analysis of the dynamic response of these systems to expected disturbances, including both internal sources (such as X-Y stage stopping transients) and external sources (such as floor vibration and acoustics noise). In addition, determination of system resonances by modal testing and analysis often provides critical design information. If necessary, the design is then improved by making appropriate changes in structural design, Stage Control, Vibration Isolation, and Damping Treatment.
We perform vibration Sensitivity Testing to determine the specification for allowable levels of Facility Vibration (and acoustic noise) for the system's installation. We also perform Site Evaluation measurements to verify that the proposed installation site (in the end-user's facility) provides an acceptable vibration and acoustic noise environment for the successful operation of the sensitive system. If facility problems are identified we often work with the facility owners to identify and solve the problem or to find a suitable alternative site for the system. The solution may involve reduction/isolation of the disturbance source, active cancellation of the disturbance at the sensitive tool, modification of the floor system, or tool improvement (such as with tuned mass dampers).
Some of the metrology equipment that we have worked on are SEM tools, FIB tools, TEM tool, AFM (atomic force microscope) systems, stylus profilometers, wafer steppers, interferometers, electron microscopes, CD SEM tools, elipsometers, and SPM tools which are manufactured by the companies such as KLA-Tencor, Veeco, Applied Materials, Rudolf Technologies, Nikon, Wyko, Zygo, Sensys, JEOL, Amray, Schlumberger, Thermawave, FEI, and Nanometrics.