Having joined the ASML family in 2016, HMI has become an integral part of our holistic lithography portfolio with innovative e-beam inspections solutions
History of HMI
The company – formerly called Hermes Microvision, Inc. – launched its R&D operations in Silicon Valley, gathering some of the brightest minds in physics, electron optics, image processing, software, electronics and control, and mechanical structure to address the semiconductor industry’s growing challenges with shrinking microchips.
Read more about HMI's history
Just like ASML, HMI started with a small team and big ideas. The company was founded in 1998 by four top scientists – Jack Jau, Zhong-Wei Chen, Chung-Shih Pan and Yi-Xiang Wang – after Archie Huang, chairman of Hermes Epitek Group, recognized the market demand and industry need for advanced electron beam inspection equipment.
The wafer inspection market had been dominated by optical inspection systems, but as the technology of IC manufacturing went beyond the 90-nanometer node, the limitations of optical tools became all too apparent. By 2003, HMI’s R&D team had developed its first solution: it successfully developed the eScan300, the company’s first e-beam inspection system. With its unique LeapNscan inspection mode and long electron gun lifetime, eScan provided an advanced inspection tool that could keep pace with other innovations in the semiconductor industry.
In 2004, HMI moved its headquarters to Hsinchu Science Park in Taiwan and began to expand its global business. That same year, it established a Tainan branch at the Tainan Science Park to expand its production capabilities. HMI continued to grow over the next decade, opening branches and subsidiaries in Japan, South Korea and China, among other countries, while developing and launching new tools: eP2, eScan Lite and eScan315.
The next few years were ones of great movement, growth and accolades: HMI registered as an emerging stock company, received ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 9001:2008 triennial assessment certification, and won both the National Award of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Potential Taiwan Mittelstand Award. Newer, ever more advanced e-beam inspection equipment launched along the way, including the eScan400, eScan320, eXplore, eScan500, eP4, SkyScan5000, and NanoScan3000.
HMI had become a true leader and well-regarded name in the semiconductor industry for its sophisticated e-beam inspection systems. In 2016, as part of a mutually beneficial agreement, ASML acquired HMI. The two companies are helping each other enhance both product ranges and push the semiconductor industry forward even faster.
The first e-beam inspection system
HMI’s first e-beam inspection system, eScan300, was developed in 2003, marking the company’s first step towards improving the performance of microchip manufacturing.
Following the company’s creed to “solve customers’ problems, become the customers’ partner, and build up mutual trust with customers,” HMI became a leader in wafer defect inspection technology. HMI’s dedication to the R&D, manufacturing, sales and service of its products continues today as part of ASML.
HMI product portfolio
HMI eScan 430
Fast e-beam inspection for process development and production monitoring for 3D NAND and other advanced chips.