LONDON The semiconductor inspection and metrology market is expected to grow 75 percent over the next three years and record sales of $6.6 billion in 2008, driven by the need for more refined inspection tools as the sector moves towards smaller dimensions on devices, according to a just published report from The Information Network.
The market research group suggests macro inspection and integrated tools will be the fastest growing segment of the market over the next three years.
“Semiconductor manufacturers are relying on these tools to minimize defects and low yields on expensive 300mm wafers during processing, setting the stage for explosive growth in the sector,” according to Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network (New Tripoli, PA).
Castellano estimates the integrated thin film metrology market will grow at 180 percent between 2006 and 2008, reaching $150 million. He maintains Nova Measuring Instruments and Nanometrics led the market in 2005.
The Macro Defect Detection sector was embroiled in a tug-of-war in 2005 as KLA-Tencor, Nanometrics, and Rudolph Technologies all vied to acquire August Technology , with Rudolph winning out.
The report suggests this sector grew 63 percent last year compared to a revenue decrease of 1.5 percent for the overall inspection/metrology market and a 9.5 percent decrease for the overall front-end equipment market.
August Technology led the market with a 32 percent share, and when combined with Rudolph’s share resulted in a 44 percent share for the combined operation.
“Recent acquisitions reinforce the growth potential of the process control market. In addition to the Rudolph acquisition of August Technologies, Nanometrics acquired Accent Optical and Soluris, market leader KLA-Tencor acquired ADE, Synopsis acquired HPL, and Golden Gate Capital acquired Leica and changed the name to Vistec Semiconductor Systems,” added Castellano.