Asee peer logo

Reverse Engineering As A Means To Understand Complex Tool Design

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Real-World Applications

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1069.1 - 9.1069.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

John Robertson

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1649

Reverse engineering as a means to understand complex tool design

John Robertson1, Brian Wales2 and Jon Weihmeir3

1. Arizona State University East, ECET Department, Mesa, AZ85212, 2. Intel Corp, Chandler Blvd, Chandler AZ. 3. Motorola SPS, 1300 N. Alma School Rd, Chandler, AZ 85224

Abstract The tools used in semiconductor processing are superb examples of advanced design for technology. They push the envelope of our process understanding and control in terms of physics, chemistry and mechanical precision and are self-contained microcosms of multi- disciplinary design. This paper describes a project to reverse engineer the design of an Anelva 1015 3-head sputtering tool. Cluster tools are now widely used in the semiconductor industry for metal and dielectric deposition. This is an early version that was donated by Intel to the Microelectronics Teaching Factory at ASU East.

A 4-stage self-paced team project activity has been developed. The first stage parameterizes the sputter process using the known operational features of the tool. The second is a set of individual activities to quantify the features of the major sub-systems. The final stages bring the team together again to analyze the trade-offs in the final system and how it has since evolved for volume production. The reverse engineering approach allows many complex design issues to be appreciated in the context of the practical realization of a commercial tool. Comparisons with current-generation tools show the continuing evolution path and new design outcomes.

Introduction The products of microelectronics technology proliferate in our daily activities as each generation of new products delivers more computing power at lower cost. Applications that impacted a whole university budget scarcely 25 years ago are now personal desktop necessities.

Ironically, the underlying production technology that gives these great computer products is moving in the opposite direction. The reason is that digital functions can be realized with small devices and although the production tools are expensive, the value of the products they create is proportionately greater still. The trends are summarized in Figure 1.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Robertson, J. (2004, June), Reverse Engineering As A Means To Understand Complex Tool Design Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12751

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015