Press Release

NanoFocus develops the new generation of high-speed 3D sensors

HICOS3D project for the development of a confocal 3D sensor system for inline production control

NanoFocus AG, developer and manufacturer of 3D surface metrology located in Oberhausen, Germany, launched its HICOS3D project, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). The aim of HICOS3D is to develop the world´s fastest high-precision sensor system for integrated 3D quality control of complex microelectronic and micromechanical, mechatronic or optical components. Until the project´s conclusion in 2016, the BMBF will fund the project with an overall amount of 800,000 euros.

Due to the rapidly growing integration density required for modern smartphones, tablets or other mobile devices, the dimensions of electronic interconnections, the so-called bumps, will reduce to less than 20 µm within the next years., There are currently no inspection systems on the market that able to sufficiently fulfill the precision as well as the speed requirements for these future bump sizes. The goal of the HICOS3D project is to close this gap.

To overcome the challenges of these future industrial requirements, a high precision and high-speed optical sensor for the integrated 3D process and quality control of complex microelectronic, mechatronic or medical products will be developed by the technology company NanoFocus AG with EPCOS as industry partner and user of optical inspection systems. Compared to the currently fastest optical 3D sensor, the new high-speed sensor system will significantly increase the resolution and measurement speed, which will lead to higher performance by a factor of 12.

“With EPCOS, a manufacturer of electronic components, modules and systems, we were able to win an ambitious user and strong industry partner for the HICOS3D project to test the next generation of our established high-speed surface metrology under the conditions of large-scale production”, explains Juergen Valentin, CTO of NanoFocus AG. ”The jointly developed high-precision 3D sensor system will make an important contribution to the quality control in production processes as well as to the development of new complex and highly integrated components.”

The HICOS3D project (grant number: 13N12861) was launched September 1, 2013, by NanoFocus AG at its headquarters in Oberhausen, Germany. It is BMBF-funded with an overall of 800,000 euros within the scope of the funding initiative “KMU-innovativ: Optische Technologien” and as part of the “Photonik Forschung Deutschland” program until the project´s conclusion on August 31, 2016.

More information about the project can be found here (German only):

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