Spotlight Lasertec: In Search of Flawless Semiconductors

March 16, 2023
By Knowledge Leaders Team in Knowledge Leaders

Based in Yokohama, Japan, Lasertec makes advanced inspection tools for semiconductor manufacturing. Using optical technology, its systems find defects too tiny to be seen by the human eye. In the semiconductor manufacturing process, defects may appear first on the photomask layer of a chip. If they are not caught, they will be passed onto the wafer.

Credit: Lasertec

Lasertec developed the first EUV (extreme ultraviolet wavelength) inspection systems, now the industry standard for ensuring defect-free semiconductor production. Lasertec also makes other wafer-related inspection and measurement tools for its international community of customers worldwide.

Indeed, these customer relationships are the core of this Knowledge Leader’s innovation strategy. R&D is forged in close partnership with major semiconductor manufacturers around the world, and Lasertec engages in ongoing conversations about future needs during regular customer visits. To enable quick decisions, the firm maintains a flat and flexible organization, a structure that also allows for frequent reorganization of product teams to quickly deliver new products. Lasertec practices a strategy it calls, “fab-lite,” outsourcing production to third parties to keep capital expenses low and allow teams to adapt quickly. Teams assemble and test prototypes in house before they go to manufacturing. Seventy percent of Lasertec’s staff is engineers, and about 10 percent of sales is reinvested in R&D.

Credit: Lasertec

Lasertec was founded in the early 1960s and initially named Nihon Jido Seigyo or “Japan Automatic Control” in English, key words at the time in Japan for a new company with a mission to develop cutting-edge technology. It launched its first photomask inspection system in 1975 and set up offices around the world during the 1980s, when it rebranded as Lasertec. Last year, the firm acquired a new R&D facility in Japan and named it the Lasertec Innovation Park.


As of 12/31/22, Lasertec was held in the Knowledge Leaders Strategy.

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