Using SWIR Imaging Devices in Semiconductor Inspection

Using SWIR Imaging Devices in Semiconductor Inspection

The semiconductor industry supports a vast amount of applications worldwide. Therefore, it should be no surprise that semiconductor inspection is highly important and must be optimized to ensure the quality and reliability of integrated circuits used in various electronic devices. Although there are several methods available for semiconductor inspection, SWIR (Short-Wave Infrared) imaging devices have emerged as powerful tools for this application. In this blog post, we will explore the applications, benefits, and key features of SWIR imaging devices in semiconductor inspection.

Understanding SWIR Imaging Devices

SWIR imaging provides enhanced sensitivity and image quality, enabling the detection of subtle defects that might go unnoticed with other technologies. Additionally, SWIR cameras offer non-destructive testing capabilities, allowing for thorough inspection without causing any damage to the semiconductor materials. Real-time monitoring and inspection automation are facilitated by SWIR cameras, improving efficiency and reducing the need for manual intervention. Furthermore, SWIR imaging devices are known for their cost-effectiveness, making them an attractive option for semiconductor manufacturers.

Learn more about how SWIR cameras work.

Applications of SWIR Imaging in Semiconductor Inspection

In the semiconductor industry, SWIR cameras are typically used to inspect ingots (silicon columns), thin wafers, and other semiconductor components, and they are also used for specific processing steps and failure analysis. Below, we look at these applications in more detail.

Bonding and Wire Detection

SWIR cameras can be used to inspect bonding and wire connections within integrated circuits. When these components are visualized, they enable users to identify problems such as detachment or misalignment and damaged wires. 

Defect Detection and Classification

SWIR cameras are an outstanding choice of equipment for detecting and classifying defects such as cracks, particles, and micro-cracks in semiconductor components. They can penetrate silicon and other semiconductor materials, allowing for comprehensive inspection.

Wafer Inspection and Metrology

SWIR imaging devices enable accurate inspection and metrology of semiconductor wafers. They can be used to evaluate wafer alignment marks, critical dimensions, and overlay measurements, contributing to quality control in the manufacturing process.

Yield Improvement and Process Optimization

SWIR imaging devices are vital in improving yield and optimizing semiconductor manufacturing processes. They aid in identifying and rectifying process-related issues, reducing waste, and enhancing overall productivity.

SWIR imaging devices are regarded as invaluable tools in semiconductor inspection. Their ability to see through silicon and other semiconductor materials and enhanced sensitivity enable comprehensive defect detection and quality control. By utilizing SWIR imaging devices, semiconductor manufacturers can improve yields, optimize processes, and enhance overall productivity. Further innovations will likely enhance SWIR imaging for semiconductor inspection as technology advances.

New Imaging Technologies Offer SWIR Imaging Devices

New Imaging Technologies (NIT) has established itself as a leading provider of SWIR sensors and cameras, offering a range of solutions for semiconductor inspection. Notably, NIT’s SWIR imaging devices offer a compelling performance-to-price ratio, making them highly suitable for integration into semiconductor production lines. With our advanced InGaAs material, proprietary manufacturing platforms, and expertise in ROIC, camera engineering, and CMOS design, NIT continues to provide SWIR solutions that combine exceptional performance and cost-effectiveness.

As the semiconductor industry evolves, NIT remains at the forefront of SWIR imaging technology, poised to contribute to further advancements in semiconductor inspection and quality control. With their commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction, NIT’s SWIR imaging devices are set to play an essential role in ensuring the reliability and efficiency of semiconductor manufacturing processes.

SWIR imaging solutions

To learn more about the SWIR imaging products we offer, contact a member of New Imaging Technologies today.

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What’s Next for Laser Communications Within SWIR Waveband?

What’s Next for Laser Communications Within SWIR Waveband?

The ever-growing demand for higher data rates, more cost-effective systems, higher bandwidths, and data security drives continuous innovation in laser communication. Free-space optical (FSO) communication systems are being continuously refined to meet these demands, offering exciting new possibilities in laser communication. This article will delve into the evolution of FSO for future comms systems.

What is Free-Space Optical Communication?

Free-space optical communication is a technology that uses light propagating in free space, such as air, outer space, or vacuum, to transmit data for telecommunications or computer networking wirelessly. FSO systems use modulated optical beams, typically infrared laser light or LEDs, to transmit data between transceivers that are in line-of-sight (LOS) with each other. This technology is considered a part of optical wireless communications and can be used for various applications, including communications between spacecraft, chip-to-chip, or board-to-board interconnections, earth observation, and so on. The wavelength of interest for FSO is the SWIR waveband, especially at 1550nm.

What are the Pros and Cons of FSO?

FSO technology offers numerous advantages, such as high data transmission rates, license-free operation, rapid deployment for temporary backbones in mobile wireless communication infrastructure, and the ability to function over several kilometres. However, there are also disadvantages, including the dependence on LOS between transceivers and susceptibility to atmospheric conditions, such as haze, rainfall, fog, and scintillation, which can negatively impact the transmission and reception of optical signals.

Enhancing FSO Technology with SWIR Wavelengths

Short-wave infrared (SWIR) technology is used in FSO systems to improve the performance and reliability of data transmission. SWIR cameras are sensitive to a specific portion of the infrared spectrum, between near-infrared (NIR) and mid-wave infrared (MWIR), and are less affected by poor visibility and atmospheric conditions. These cameras offer low noise and high frame rates, enabling efficient data transmission irrespective of ambient conditions. Additionally, high-speed SWIR InGaAs cameras can be used in fast adaptive optics setups, which help overcome limitations of FSO communications, such as atmospheric turbulence and signal degradation.

Interested in Laser Communications?

If you’re interested in keeping up with the latest innovations in laser communications, read our blog content. New Imaging Technologies (NIT) was founded in 2007 as a spin-off of the French National Research Center for Telecommunications, with the goal of designing and producing image products based upon patented high dynamic range response sensors.

NIT initially focused on CMOS visible sensors, but quickly turned to the short wave infrared region (SWIR) with a line of InGaAs SWIR products. Large R&D investments have taken place at NIT over the last years to cover all technical aspects of SWIR technology, from read-out circuit design, hybridization technology, photodiode arrays, camera electronics, and software.

Now a vertically integrated source for SWIR sensors and cameras, NIT boasts unique in-house manufacturing technologies such as small pitch high yield hybridization capacity. The SWIR InGaAs line is our sole activity, with a unique product portfolio ranging from small low-cost SWIR sensors, high-speed line arrays, and large format focal plane arrays VGA and SXGA.

References and further reading:

  2. Kaur, M., & Brar, A. K. (2017). Free Space Optics Communication – Trends and Challenges. International Journal of Engineering Development and Research, 5(2). Punjabi University, Patiala. ISSN: 2321-9939.

Stay Up to Date

Stay informed about the exciting developments in laser communications by following our blog and exploring how these advancements may shape the future of space communications and beyond.

How Does Laser Alignment Work?

How Does Laser Alignment Work?

Laser alignment is a vital process in many industrial and scientific applications as it ensures two or more components of a machine are aligned accurately. There are several internal and external techniques involved in laser alignment, including alignment for belts, pulleys, shafts, or other pieces, and applying the most suitable technique will reduce the risk of misalignment and support optimal performance. Unfortunately, misalignment can occur due to fuel leaks, machine failure, and wear and tear; the consequences include unplanned downtime, costly repairs, and poor-quality products. In this blog post, we will look at how laser alignment works, its applications, and its benefits.

Laser Alignment

Laser alignment is a quick and accurate way to test equipment and ensure machinery components are running on the same axis, thus making it both a preventative and corrective process. Laser alignment involves measuring two components in a machine to check they are horizontally and vertically straight by attaching an emitter and a sensor to each piece. Both emitters fire a laser beam across the component, and they are received by the appropriate sensor. These laser beams are compared to determine the accuracy of alignment. The results are converted to a display unit, which allows users to make corrections if necessary.

The primary target of laser alignment is to have the laser beam accurately pointing at the target component. With the latest technology, laser alignment can be conducted to within one-hundredth of a millimeter. This measurement is critical for the optimal performance of machinery and the smooth running of industry processes, and typical components that require precise alignment include shafts, seals, bearings, and belts.

Laser Alignment Applications

Many industries benefit from and require machinery to be accurately aligned, especially in construction, manufacturing, and scientific research applications. The applications include aligning machinery components, checking clearance and wear, measuring misalignment and deflections, precision surveying, and many others.

Beam Profiling

Laser beam profiling is a valuable diagnostic tool to capture, display and record the spatial intensity of a laser beam’s energy. When used with appropriate imaging software, beam profiling is used to obtain measurements such as beam size, beam wandering, and peak energy, as well as other beam properties. This information is important for monitoring a laser’s performance and service life.

Laser Tracking

Laser trackers are used to take accurate and reliable measurements of two angles and a distance to track the position of an object in a 3D space. Used alongside appropriate metrology software, the X, Y, and Z coordinates of a point are obtained, which is crucial for many manufacturing applications. This technology is highly beneficial for improving set-up times, machinery alignment, and reverse engineering measurements of existing installations, to name a few.

New Imaging Technologies: SWIR Solutions for Laser Alignment

New Imaging Technologies (NIT) is a French-based company founded in 2007 to provide state-of-the-art imaging products based on short-wave infrared region (SWIR) sensors and cameras. Our SWIR products are commonly used in laser alignment applications because they provide a solution to common problems, such as saturation and blooming effects, that standard cameras face when used with lasers. 

SWIR Laser Alignment solutions

Contact a member of NIT today to learn more about the importance of accurate laser alignment and how SWIR products can enhance its processes.

SWIR cameras laser alignment
Understanding the Value of Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) Cameras

Understanding the Value of Short Wave Infrared (SWIR) Cameras

Short-wave infrared (SWIR) cameras are popular in many industries because they possess unique remote sensing capabilities. SWIR cameras and their technologies are frequently used in night vision imaging and to inspect internal structures of objects without having to break them open. As scientists learn more about SWIR light and its properties, the value of SWIR cameras increases. In this blog post, we will look at what SWIR cameras are and why they are becoming so valuable.

What is SWIR light?

SWIR light is reflective, invisible light with a wavelength range between 0.9 and 1.7 micrometers. However, the wavelength range can also be classified as 0.7 to 2.5 micrometers. Because SWIR light is reflective, it projects itself off objects and can create shadows and other effects, just like visible light. However, a primary difference between visible and invisible light is that SWIR light can see through fog, smoke, and some other materials. It is an ideal solution for imaging applications in low light or covert conditions.

How do SWIR Cameras Work?

SWIR cameras have specialized sensors that detect SWIR light emitted or reflected by objects. Once the light is absorbed, the light is converted into electrical signals by the camera’s electronic system. SWIR cameras are engineered with a photodiode array, a sensor, a camera lens, and an electronic system, which all work together to detect light and convert it into an image.

For a more comprehensive piece, read our previous blog post, How Do SWIR Cameras Work?

Applications of SWIR Cameras

There are many industries and applications that benefit from SWIR cameras and their technology. These cameras have diverse purposes, including semiconductor inspection, surveillance, medical imaging, and chemical sensing.

For surveillance purposes, SWIR cameras are crucial in military applications as they can identify beacons and lasers and see through haze and smoke. In other surveillance settings, SWIR cameras are used because they produce high-quality images in obscured conditions.

SWIR is also used in the semiconductor industry to inspect parts for defects in the production line or to conduct failure analysis of circuits or wafers. In terms of life sciences, SWIR is used in microscopy to enhance analysis beyond the standard visible range. It can also be used for deep tissue imaging for In-vivo applications.

Other applications include inspection in the hot glass, welding, and art industries, firefighting, and laser processing.

Advantages of SWIR Cameras

There are several crucial advantages that SWIR cameras offer over other imaging technologies. The primary benefit is that SWIR imaging can ‘see through’ fog, smoke, and materials such as glass. They produce high-quality images in low-light conditions but can also be used for daylight imaging. As we’ve already mentioned, SWIR cameras are valuable to a wide range of industries, and these below are some additional reasons why.

  • Ability to see through glass and obscured weather conditions
  • Can be used to complement thermal cameras
  • High-resolution imaging
  • High sensitivity to invisible light and any changes
  • No illumination is needed

New Imaging Technologies and SWIR Cameras

To summarize this blog post, SWIR cameras are an invaluable imaging tool for various industries due to their unique capabilities. From identifying crop health to seeing through smoke in military settings, SWIR cameras offer solutions and improve efficiency in challenging situations.

New Imaging Technologies are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art SWIR cameras for a range of imaging applications, with a focus on cost-effective and high-performance solutions. We offer a varied choice of SWIR cameras, with resolutions 320×256, 640×512, 1280×1024, and 2048×1, and support multiple applications with our analog, CameraLink, GigE, SDI, and USB 3.0 options.

SWIR imaging solutions

Contact NIT today to learn more about enhancing your imaging solutions with SWIR cameras.

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NSC1801-NIT Improves its Line SWIR sensor

NSC1801-NIT Improves its Line SWIR sensor

NIT Announces Updated NSC1801 – Line-Scan SWIR Sensor for Improved Performance

NIT is pleased to announce the release of an updated version of its line SWIR sensor. The NSC1801 was initially designed to capture high-resolution images of linearly moving objects with high frame rates, low noise, and high sensitivity. Its pixel size has the world’s smallest size of 7.5um which contributes to the lower manufacturing costs without increasing the cost of lenses. Now NIT is pleased to release an updated version of this line-scan SWIR sensor, where all key parameters have been reworked and overall performances improvedNSC1801 is currently installed in NIT LiSaSWIR cameras.

Key Features of NSC1801

The NSC1801 line-scan sensor boasts several impressive features that make it an ideal choice for high-resolution linear imaging applications.

Features Benefits
Pixel size 7.5×7.5µm The lowest pixel size in the industry for capturing sharp details
Resolution 2048 pixels Large field of view compatible with most lenses from the market
Three gain modes available Allows selecting the best dynamic range for the scene.
QE >85% Boost sensitivity to the maximum available
Line rate up to 60KHz For imaging fast-moving objects
Exposure time 10µs to 220ms Fully configurable for capturing the best signal-to-noise ratio


Its pixel size of 7.5×7.5µm is the smallest in the industry, enabling it to capture sharp details with incredible precision. This sensor offers a resolution of 2048 pixels, which provides a large field of view compatible with most lenses available on the market. The NSC1801 line scan SWIR sensor also features three gain modes that allow users to select the best dynamic range for the scene, making it incredibly versatile for various applications. Additionally, its quantum efficiency of over 85% enhances its sensitivity, allowing for maximum performance. For imaging fast-moving objects, the NSC1801 line scan sensor’s line rate of up to 60KHz is essential, capturing even the shortest events. Its exposure time of 10us to 220ms is fully configurable, ensuring that the best signal-to-noise ratio is captured for each unique scenario.

The sensor was designed and manufactured in NIT’s new manufacturing facility – a clean room equipped with a high-yield hybridization process, that facilitates the complete design and production cycle of these sensors in volume with unprecedented levels of quality.

Furthermore, the NSC1801 was initially developed to cater to new markets that were unable to invest in costly and complex SWIR cameras. Consequently, the Lisa SWIR camera from NIT, which utilizes the NSC1801, delivers an unbeatable price point, even for individual purchases.

Applications for Line-scan SWIR sensors

The NSC1801 line scan sensor is ideal for waste sorting, semiconductor and photovoltaic cell inspection, food and vegetable inspection, and pharmaceutical inspection applications.

In conclusion, NIT’s updated NSC1801 line scan sensor offers improved performance, high sensitivity, and low noise while remaining cost-effective. Its features make it an ideal solution for a wide range of applications, and the sensor’s compatibility with most lenses on the market provides added flexibility. NIT’s Lisa SWIR camera based on the NSC1801 is an excellent option for those looking for high-quality linear imaging at an affordable price point.

How Do SWIR Cameras Work?

How Do SWIR Cameras Work?

Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) cameras have become essential imaging tools across agriculture, defense, industrial and medical industries. These cameras utilize SWIR light in the wavelength range of 0.9-2.5 µm, which is invisible to the naked eye, to produce high-resolution images. One of the primary benefits of SWIR imaging techniques is that they can take images through materials that are opaque to certain wavelengths of visible light – materials like glass or polymers, a benefit often unmatched by other technologies. This blog post will provide an overview of how SWIR cameras work and their primary applications.

How do SWIR Cameras Work?

SWIR cameras use sensors to detect the reflection and emission of light in the SWIR wavelength range, which is between 0.9 and 2.5 µm. These cameras consist of a sensor, a lens, a photodiode array, and a conversion system, each playing an important role in detecting light and converting it into an electronic signal.

Sensors used in SWIR cameras are built with a photodiode array, often using InGaAs materials (indium gallium arsenide) which has a bandgap energy smaller than silicon, allowing it to absorb photons with a longer wavelength. When light in the SWIR range passes through the camera lens, it is focused onto the sensor. This sensor consists of multiple pixels arranged in a grid pattern. Each pixel detects the intensity of incoming light and corresponds to a specific location in the image.

When the light impinges onto the photodiode array, it creates a charge that is proportional to light intensity. This charge is then converted to a digital signal which is translated via the SWIR camera’s electronics into an image. Generally, the image is grayscale, with each pixel corresponding to a different shade of gray that represents light intensity at that location.

InGaAs is not the only material used in SWIR sensors, but InGaAs offers a broader range of SWIR wavelengths and can be used in gas and environmental monitoring applications.

One of the reasons SWIR cameras are so popular is that they work effectively in low-light conditions, which is suitable for a range of applications such as agriculture, semiconductor inspection, medical imaging, surveillance, and security. In addition, utilizing InGaAs in photodiode arrays offers high sensitivity and resolution to light in the SWIR range.

Advantages of SWIR Cameras

The many advantages of SWIR cameras make them a favorable option across various industries. SWIR imaging offers high-resolution, high-sensitivity imaging solutions that work well in both light and dark environments, as they can benefit from night glow or night sky radiance<. SWIR cameras do not need expensive lenses or specific casing options, making them a cost-effective imaging technique that is small and powerful.

  • Able to identify covert lasers and beacons
  • Can see through glass, plastic, and water
  • Cost-effective
  • Day and night imaging
  • High resolution
  • Low power

New Imaging Technologies and SWIR Cameras

New Imaging Technologies (NIT) was founded in 2007 to provide a comprehensive range of image sensors and cameras. Although the company started with CMOS sensors, the focus swiftly changed to SWIR imaging that utilizes Indium Gallium Arsenide (InGaAs) materials for imaging solutions that work with wavelengths invisible to the human eye.

State-of-the-art SWIR Cameras

Our SWIR solutions are designed with high performance and cost-effectiveness in mind to provide imaging options to companies across various industries. Our cameras are available for resolutions 320×256, 640×512, 1280×1024, and 2048×1, and interface options include analog, CameraLink, GigE, SDI, and USB 3.0 to ensure multiple imaging applications are supported.

Contact NIT today for more information about our SWIR imaging solutions and their applications.

SWIR imaging solutions

Contact NIT today for more information about our SWIR imaging solutions and their applications.

NIT SWIR cameras