Reliable and fast wireless communication for lithography machines (FASTCOM)Themes: Signal processing for communication
Connecting a sensor network on a moving platform to a control unit; this requires high-speed links with low latency, and accurate wireless clock synchronization.
Low latency communication
Lithographic systems, such as built by ASML, require extremely accurate synchronous substrate and mask (reticle) positioning. This also holds for other mechatronic systems such as industrial printers or pick-and-place machines. It is considered that the cables and fibers that connect the sensors and actuators to the central control devices seriously limit performance and reliability.
The sensors and actuators are mounted on mobile platforms (stages) that experience very high accelerations. This induces large forces on the cables, and chances on broken connections are relatively large. Secondly, the stiffness induced by the cables leads to undesired disturbances on the system. However, replacing the cables by wireless communication links is only allowed if the sensor data can be transmitted reliably, fast and with extremely small latencies, as the sensor data needs to be used in a high bandwidth control loop. In this application, about 25 sensors produce an aggregate data rate of 1-10 Gbps. Data samples from the sensors should reach the central control unit with latencies in the order of microseconds. Currently, no wireless communication standard supports such high data rates with such low latencies.
The FASTCOM project
The project aims to propose a wireless system design. The design will be implemented on a demonstrator platform and tested in an experimental wafer stage or reticle stage system. The project finalizes with the design of a custom VLSI chip set. The project is funded by STW.
is a presentation on wireless localization (Apr 2014) that summarizes some of the results of the FASTCOM project.