Air-Based Contactless Wafer Precision Positioning System

R.H.T. Hooijschuur, N. Saikumar, S.H. Hossein Nia Kani, R.A.J. van Ostayen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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This paper presents the development of a contactless sensing system and the dynamic evaluation of an air-bearing-based precision wafer positioning system. The contactless positioning stage is a response to the trend seen in the high-tech industry, where the substrates are becoming thinner and larger to reduce the cost and increase the yield. Using contactless handling it is possible to avoid damage and contamination. The system works by floating the substrate on a thin film of air. A viscous traction force is created on the substrate by steering the airflow. A cascaded control design structure has been implemented on the contactless positioning system, where the inner loop controller (ILC) controls the actuator which steers the airflow and the outer loop controller (OLC) controls the position of the substrate by controlling the reference of the ILC. The dynamics of the ILC are evaluated and optimized for the performance of the positioning of the substrate. The vibration disturbances are also handled by the ILC. The bandwidth of the system has been improved to 300 Hz. For the OLC, a linear charge-coupled device has been implemented as a contactless sensor. The performance of the sensing system has been analysed. During control in steady-state, this resulted in a position error of the substrate of 12.9 μm RMS, which is a little more than two times the resolution. The bandwidth of the OLC is approaching 10 Hz
Original languageEnglish
Article number7588
Number of pages22
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • air-bearing
  • precision positioning
  • tribotronics


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