Abstract

Wafer identifications (wafer ID) can be used to identify wafers from each other so that wafer processing can be traced easily. Wafer ID recognition is one of the problems of optical character recognition. The process to recognize wafer IDs is similar to that used in recognizing car license-plate characters. However, due to some unique characteristics, such as the irregular space between two characters and the unsuccessive strokes of wafer ID, it will not get a good result to recognize wafer ID by directly utilizing the approaches used in car license-plate character recognition. Wafer ID scratches are engraved by a laser scribe almost along the following four fixed directions: horizontal, vertical, plus 45°, and minus 45° orientations. The closer to the center line of a wafer ID scratch, the higher the gray level will be. These and other characteristics increase the difficulty to recognize the wafer ID. In this paper a wafer ID recognition scheme based on an asterisk-shape filter and a high–low score comparison method is proposed to cope with the serious influence of uneven luminance and make recognition more efficiently. Our proposed approach consists of some processing stages. Especially in the final recognition stage, a template-matching method combined with stroke analysis is used as a recognizing scheme. This is because wafer IDs are composed of Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) standard Arabic numbers and English alphabets, and thus the template ID images are easy to obtain. Furthermore, compared with the approach that requires prior training, such as a support vector machine, which often needs a large amount of training image samples, no prior training is required for our approach. The testing results show that our proposed scheme can efficiently and correctly segment out and recognize the wafer ID with high performance.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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