Introducing Automated Optical Inspection for Semiconductor Manufacturing

Semiconductors are integral to the functioning of the modern world, from the communications technologies we rely on for everyday correspondences, to flight computers, to essential medical devices. Nanotronics’ advanced AOI machinery can be deployed for quality assurance purposes in any precision process and is compatible with both manual and automated manufacturing procedures. 

Nanotronics’ compact and modular nSpec® system is used to inspect wafers at every step of the manufacturing process from the initial bare wafer stage through post dicing and packaging. nSpec® software and hardware solutions are configurable to customer specifications enabling recognition, classification, and measurement of nanoscopic flaws for correction within production processes at a fraction of the cost of a traditional AOI system. nSpec® is deployed to analyze bonded wafers including bare, substrate, epi, patterned, and etched wafers, as well as singulated die in waffle packs, Gel-Paks, or on tape. 



  1. The nSpec® AOI system employs submicron imaging resolution, machine learning, and artificial intelligence analyzers that allow users to customize feature and defect reporting. 
  2. Process engineers can easily configure nSpec® to inspect wafers at any stage of production.
  3. Through the implementation of Nanotronics’ nTelligence™ platform, nSpec® software can be synced with all inspection devices dispersed throughout a fab, enabling engineers to find correlations between defect identification data and process tool parameters so that they may make timely corrections to fabrication errors.
  4. nSpec® is LIMS systems compatible and can be integrated with standard software, SECS/GEM, Klarity (KLARF import/export), and proprietary process control.


Industry Applications

  1. Nanotronics incorporates our nSpec® suite in tandem with the nControl™ platform to address any risks associated with potential contamination and prevent potential malicious activity. 
  2. Our proprietary machine learning technology deploys supervised learning, data augmentation, pattern recognition, and local instancing to maximize data integrity, security, and robustness. 
  3. AIPC® is designed to reinforce a factory’s operations, and by synthesizing existing data with actively collected data, fills in informational gaps that a network of dispersed operators naturally produce.




Nanotronics’ AOI tools are deployed for easy identification of contaminations and manufacturing errors throughout assembly processes to ensure the highest quality of final product. Inspection allows manufacturers to collect granular microdata and essential metrics at all stages of the supply chain to propel faster, more reliable data-driven decisions that speed innovation, increase manufacturing yields, reduce waste, and lower costs.


Nanotronics brings over a decade of manufacturing experience to our customers’ facilities. Our suite of inspection, AI, and security tools enable us to ensure that prototypes and manufacturing processes are designed to yield an optimized final product.


Incorporating AI into manufacturing processes adds an extra layer of security to your industrial facility. AI can remotely monitor for process variations that cause drastic factory shutdown and allows operators to make key decisions, preventing critical errors that slow and stall production.


The Nanotronics Difference

Nanotronics products are modular and adaptable to the unique requirements of any factory. Our unprecedented lead times range from 120-180 days, allowing us to provide customers with the highest quality AOI systems as quickly as possible so that they may expedite fabrication soon after needs are determined. The nSpec® suite is cost effective and highly compact with a fraction of a traditional AOI system’s footprint, making it less demanding in its spatial requirements. Advanced imaging is optimal for quality assurance as it adds a layer of rich, human-legible and presentable data to factory operations.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between metrology and inspection?

Metrology refers to the science of precision measurement and is concerned with the development of units, or quantitative analysis of critical dimensions. Inspection involves a more generalized, qualitative approach including failure analysis and assignment as well as classification of defect type.


Why is defect detection important in wafer fabrication?

Defect detection is important in wafer fabrication as it alerts operators to anomalies in chip production early in the manufacturing process and allows them to assign causality to a particular defect class, type, and instance.


What is brightfield inspection?

Brightfield inspection refers to the use of reflected light microscopy in defect detection. Surfaces like polished silicon and silicon carbide reflect light, whereas particles and other nonuniform, nonreflective surfaces scatter light. Because the scattered light does not pass back up through the objective lens and into the camera sensor, particle defects appear as dark spots and are easily identifiable. Nanotronics’ nSpec® AOI suite employs 400 to 700nm LED light in brightfield inspection, which comprises the entire visible spectrum.