Photolithography equipment and materials for advanced packaging, MEMS and LED applications

Growing photolithography equipment markets in Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LEDs are attracting new players – but they have to navigate complex roadmaps


The semiconductor industry is very often identified by its “More Moore” players, driven by technology downscaling and cost reduction. There’s one clear leader supplying photolithography tools to the “More Moore” industry: ASML, based in The Netherlands. It’s followed by two Japanese outsiders, Nikon and Canon. Providing this market with photolithography equipment is highly complex and there are gigantic barriers to market entry. Enormous R&D investments are required as the key features to print shrink ever further. Also, the tolerances specified are very aggressive and thus equipment complexity keeps on increasing.

In the “More than Moore” industry the holy grail isn’t downscaling any more – it’s adding functionality. There are two clear leaders, SUSS MicroTec in the MEMS and Sensors industry, and Ultratech in the Advanced Packaging industry. They’re closely followed by the outsiders, EVG, Rudolph and USHIO.

But the similarities are only superficial, because the market entry barrier is much lower in the “More than Moore” market. Equipment in the Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LEDs industries is less complex but customer adoption needs are higher, which leads to a much broader photolithography landscape.

The photolithography market structure for these three industries is very different compared to the “More Moore”, or mainstream semiconductor, industry. New entrants can penetrate these markets with a good knowledge of the technological building blocks. But the key to success is to adapt the equipment to the specific customer’s needs. That means that these markets are complex to develop and that they take a long time to penetrate.

Some players entered through acquisition. Rudolph acquired Azores Corp. in 2012 to enter the Advanced Packaging photolithography equipment arena. Also in 2012, SUSS MicroTec acquired Tamarack Scientific Co. Inc. to enlarge its semiconductor back end photolithography equipment market.

Others like Orbotech, which acquired a leading MEMS and Advanced Packaging company, SPTS, is today only present in substrate and PCB direct imaging.

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Of course, in these “More than Moore” markets, retrofit equipment does represent a big slice of the pie. Nevertheless business opportunities for brand new equipment are important, considering the very fragmented and therefore highly customer specific orientation of these equipment markets.

We estimate the projection systems market for Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LEDs to represent more than US$150M in 2014. Advanced Packaging has the strongest growth, with an estimated equipment installation base of more than 40 systems in 2014 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10% envisaged through 2020. In the meanwhile, MEMS photolithography equipment looks set for an 9% CAGR and LEDs 3%.

The Advanced Packaging market is very interesting and is growing dynamically as it includes many different players along the supply chain. It encompasses outsourced assembly at test firms (OSATs), integrated manufacturers (IDMs), MEMS foundries and mid-stage foundries.

In comparison, even if the MEMS and Sensor industry is growing at a fast pace, components are also experiencing die size reduction due to strong cost pressure in the consumer market. Consequently wafer shipments are not following the same trend as unit shipments. Lastly, LED equipment growth is back to a normal rhythm, after big investments made in recent years.

Photolithography equipment market forecast for Advanced Packaging MEMS and LEDs


The technology mix for projection systems in the Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LEDs markets is quite important. Mask aligners and projection steppers offers a wide resolution range while disruptive technologies like laser direct imaging (LDI), laser ablation, and nano-imprint lithography could re-shuffle the photolithography pack by offering “good enough” technology specifications at lower prices. This will of course depend on the final application as roadmaps differ in terms of resolution needs.

We do not foresee any big specification evolution in the future. However, the MEMS sector is evolving towards greater stepper needs, as layer to layer alignment is becoming very accurate – down to 0.1 µm – and any misalignment of mechanical features will lower performances, for example in gyros and micromirrors. However this technological evolution is happening slowly as MEMS do not follow Moore’s law, with its constant two-year cycles. The LED equipment market is also very stable as the 2010-2011 investment cycle resulted in worldwide overcapacity at most levels of the value chain.

Advanced Packaging has very complex technical specifications. Warpage handling as well as heterogeneous materials represent big challenges to photolithography. Due to aggressive resolution targets in Advanced Packaging, performance must be improved. The current minimum resolution required is below 5 µm for some advanced packaging platforms, like 3D integrated circuits, 2.5D interposers, and wafer level chip scale packaging (WLCSP). A lot of effort is being made to reduce overlay issues due to shifting dies and obtain vertical sidewalls for flip-chip and WLCSP. Although steppers are already well established in the packaging field, new disruptive lithography technologies are also emerging and could contribute to market growth from 2015-2016.

Huge business opportunities in the Advanced Packaging market are therefore driving photolithography equipment demand. Given the high growth rate of this market, there is no doubt that already established photolithography players and new entrants will be attracted.

key lithography challenges for Advanced Packaging

This report provides an overview of all the key lithography technologies used in Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LED applications and benchmarks them in terms of feature requirements. Moreover, it provides examples of lithography process steps for these applications. It describes associated technological breakthroughs and manufacturing process. More insights are included on specific lithography equipment tools for Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LED devices.

Competition trends are carefully analyzed and presented as a competitive landscape and competitive analysis of the major equipment and materials suppliers involved in Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LED applications. Finally, a section is also dedicated to disruptive technologies such as LDI, laser ablation and nanoimprint lithography, which could reshape the lithography landscape in the future. Possible reshaping scenarios are described, including acquisitions, mergers, and joint ventures, along with their anticipated impact on the global photolithography market.


  • Provide market metrics both at lithography equipment and photoresist materials levels from 2014 to 2020
    • Forecast until 2020: revenue, unit count
  • Provide market share of the key equipment and materials suppliers involved in the packaging, MEMS and LED industries
  • Key technical insights into future lithography equipment and materials trends and challenges
  • Provide analysis of the technology trends
    • Technology roadmap
    • Latest technical innovations
  • Analysis of the key equipment and materials vendors
  • Analysis of market disruptions and impact of alternative technologies on the lithography market
  • New analysis based on the competitive landscape and market share for all main equipment and materials suppliers
  • Key technical insights and detailed analysis on equipment and materials solution trends, requirements, and challenges
  • Roadmap for technology, evolution and future development, including disruptive technologies

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