Productivity improvement
An independent assessment by a semiconductor manufacturing facility determined that the PC-Scope raises productivity by at least 100%. Using a PC-Scope system to perform quality assurance inspection of devices, the facility estimated that it could easily double its throughput and that a 300% increase was more likely (assuming optimization of their process to take advantage of some key capabilities of the PC-Scope). The ease of use and the ability to capture and transmit high resolution images (including annotation), and store and compile inspection data for pareto diagrams would shorten the work cycle significantly. It would also increase the effectiveness of the review process by associating inspection results with processing metrics. By placing the microscope inside the clean room and the computer outside, inspectors could perform their duties without having to enter the cleanroom. This would reduce the number of personnel actually performing their work inside the cleanroom, reducing human contaminants proportionately.

Employee health and welfare
Conventional microscope design tradeoffs usually result in a system poorly suited to human operation, in which the operator must maintain a rigid and unnatural posture for extended periods of time. Researchers have determined that about 80 percent of microscopists experience headaches or musculoskeletal pain and 75 percent complain of eye strain. One study reported an OSHA injury rate of 19 for a sample of microscope operators while another indicated a high incidence of career "dropout" between the fifth and tenth years of practice. The research that supports these published works indicates that most microscopists cannot successfully operate the optical microscope for an entire career without incurring debilitating injuries. And, if special sample handling procedures are required, personnel clothing considerations can significantly increase the difficulty of use and the associated physical stress.

With the PC-Scope, the operator uses a mouse connected to a personal computer to control the microscope while observing the true-color image on a high-resolution color monitor. Precision positioning of the sample is done under computer control. The operator can specify x,y coordinate of a feature to move the stage automatically to put that feature into the field-of-view of a 100x objective lens (on-screen magnification is 4000x). The physical operation of the PC-Scope is even less stressful than normal personal computer operation since a mouse, instead of a keyboard, is used as the primary input device. With the appropriate pointing device, the system can be used by people with major mobility disabilities with no loss of productivity.

Reduced capital expenditures
The purchase price of a fully-functional system is significantly less than that of a conventional microscope with a motorized stage and provides improved throughput due to its ease of use and data compilation capabilities. The system includes a 200mm x 200mm stage with a vacuum chuck for holding a wafer, a high resolution video imaging system, a personal computer with monitor, and a microscope with 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100x lenses. Lens selection, image focusing, stage x,y travel & rotation, and aperture and field diaphragms are controlled from the screen of the personal computer.

Made in the USA.
The patented PC-Scope is designed and built by TriTek Corp. in their Northern Virginia laboratory. TriTek personnel provide installation and training.

©2015 TriTek Corp., All Rights Reserved


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