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History of Canon Steppers

Posted on: 04/06/2016

The intricate process of photolithography can only be achieved over and over again with the help of top quality tools. Steppers are indispensable in photolithography. They enable the printing of millions of very small patterns or circuits on to tiny surfaces, such as that of silicon chips and wafers.

Canon steppers began with a dream of Canon’s founders to produce the best camera in the world. To do this, they know that they aggressive optical technology is key. In 1965, Canon applied its prowess in optical technology for semiconductors. All their efforts paid off with the creation of the U170mmF1.8. To support the development and the mass manufacture of this one-of-a-kind lens, Canon ventured to the creation of semiconductor lithography devices. Canon would need to produce massive amount of lenses that would have uniform patterns that are optically transferred to wafers in order to create semiconductor integrated circuits –and thus, the Canon PPC-1 is born in 1970.

The PPC-1 is Canon’s first semiconductor production lens. It is a 1:1 projection mask aligner that can be used for 2-inch wafers. It required manual alignment.

In 1974, the PLA-300F was created. It supported automatic wafer feeding and could also produce at higher speeds than the PPC-1.

In 1977, Canon launched the PLA-500FA, the world’s first laser-based automatic alignment system. Shortly thereafter, the MPA-500FAb was created. The MPA-500FAb used mirror projection to successfully create high-resolution circuits, up to 5”.  The need for equipment that could support up to a 6” wafer, encouraged the birth of the MPA-600FA and then the MPA-600Super.

In 1984, the first Canon Stepper came into light in the name of the FPA-1500 FA. It uses the g-line as light source, followed by the FPA-2000i1 in 1990 which used the i-line, and then by the FPA-3000EX4 in 1997 which used Krf excimer laser.

Canon has come a long way from just dreaming of creating the world’s best camera. It can do more than that and it can do so over and over again all thanks to Canon’s Steppers and other photolithography equipment.

For more information on Canon Steppers and other Canon photolithography equipment, please contact SERVTECH Inc. at or 916-985-0117.