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UV instrument spots hidden contaminants

30 May 2008

Craic Technologies says that its latest product is the first to combine UV microscopy and microspectroscopy in a single tool.

A UV system could soon be shedding new light on the tiny particles that contaminate devices such as flat-panel displays and patterned semiconductors. US firm Craic Technologies says that its QDI 2010 microspectrophotometer is ideal for spotting contaminants that are often invisible to techniques such as optical microscopy.

"The QDI 2010 microspectrophotometer is the first system to combine both UV microscopy and microspectroscopy in a single tool," Paul Martin of Craic told optics.org. "The combined instrument is able to detect particles or smears directly whereas previously this required a separate microscope and microspectrophotometer."

Martin says that the QDI 2010 performs colour imaging and microspectroscopy simultaneously and that sub-micron resolution is easily attainable. "The ease of use and speed are improved by not having to switch between instruments," he added. "The ability to image and spectroscopically analyse exactly the same location is also an advantage."

When designing the QDI 2010, Craic developed a new optical path that is compatible with an upright microscope and works with wavelengths from the deep ultraviolet through to the near-infrared. The ultraviolet source can be either a xenon or a deuterium lamp.

"The QDI 2010 can detect a range of organic and inorganic contaminants and is suitable for both production lines and laboratories," said Martin. "Scans and imaging can be done on the order of seconds. Typical applications include contamination analysis of MEMS and semiconductor devices. One interesting application is to quickly locate and qualify protein crystals. This method is used in the pharmaceutical industry for drug development."

The QDI 2010 is commercially available and can be upgraded to enable ultraviolet, visible and near-infrared reflectance, transmittance and fluorescence microscopy, and microspectroscopy.

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