Breakthrough Technology to Improve X-Ray results

Breakthrough Technology to Improve X-Ray results
The paper contains comparison data from Nano Focus tube, plus data from reliability and stability tests using a real-life system and not test rigs.
Production Floor


Authored By:

Keith Bryant, BEng, (Hons)
KB Consultancy
Johannesburg, South Africa


Last time my paper shared data and results from Excillum labs and those of their technology partners which came from tube technology advances, within our industry.

This tube is based on advanced electron optics and the latest very thin tungsten- diamond transmission target technology. Automatic e-beam focusing, and astigmatism correction ensures that the smallest possible, truly round focal spot is achieved. The NanoTube also has the unique feature of internally measuring and reporting the current spot size. In addition, advanced cooling, and cutting-edge thermal design results in extreme stability over time. This enables an unprecedented true resolution of 150nm lines and spaces. The true round spot of the tube is demonstrated by the highly symmetric images of a ‘Siemens star’ resolution target, the innermost features are 150 nm.

The NanoTube is the focus of this paper and work is currently on going, Excillum have already purchased a leading high-end manufacturers off-line system which has become our ‘real life’ test bed, so far, we have benchmarked the source and have upgraded it to the highest current industry specification. We have now replaced the source with the recently developed Excillum NanoTube, running at higher power, offering all the advantages listed, plus further improved electron optics, reliability, and redesigned exterior for easier installation into existing cabinets. I will show sample images from this system during my live presentation at SMTAi 2021, but unfortunately Covid 19 has slowed our progress so they will not be in this paper.

The paper will contain comparison data and images from the current industry best vs. the latest Nano Focus tube, plus data from reliability and stability tests using a real-life system and not test rigs.


As can be clearly seen from the images and data contained in this paper, this new development in x-ray source is definitely ‘Best in Class’. Figure 7 (below) is blurred towards the centre where the smaller lines are and this if due to Tube 2 reaching the limit of its capability, whereas image 8 (below) is far clearer, brighter, and crisper, this would translate to smaller features on a sample being seen more clearly and inspected. A further confirmation of NanoTube ability is figure 9 (below) which shows crispness and clarity of the image even at maximum resolution.

In all the key metrics the NanoTube outperforms the other two sources compared here, beating them comprehensively. It can therefore be expected that the higher technology sources currently under development will perform even better and put Excillum at the forefront of source technology for the most demanding of SMT and Semiconductor inspection applications.

Initially Published in the SMTA Proceedings


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