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High-precision software corrections for a perfect multi-layer circuit

Aparna Chaudhary (36) is a Senior Design Engineer at the Dutch chip machine manufacturer ASML that is situated in Brainport Eindhoven.

She is specialized in software development in Java and currently works on a software application that is aimed at calculating corrections to ensure the layers of a circuit in a scanner are positioned exactly in line for the best results. High-precision work, on a nanometer scale with a sub-second response time. “These are the challenges I like.”

ASML makes world leading high tech lithography machines for chip manufacturers around the globe. These tailor made machines can image billions of structures in a few seconds with an accuracy of a few silicon atoms. ASML employs over 16,500 employees from 105 different nationalities on a global scale. 9,100 of these employees work in Veldhoven, a relatively small village near to the city of Eindhoven, where ASML is headquartered.

Aparna works on holistic litho software as a Senior Design Engineer. “The scanning machine is controlled by metrology tools and engineering software,” Aparna explains. “A chip has a complex 3-D structure; similar to a city. This structure is made layer by layer and for it to function well these layers need to be properly aligned. We calculate corrections for the scanner to ensure that these layers are exactly on top of each other. All of this happens on a nanometre scale.”

High volumes of data and sub-second response time

“The machines now produce data on a terabyte level. But there is potential for a lot more data. As devices become faster, they provide more information and more predictions can be done and the amount of data might grow out to a petabyte or in other words 1,000 terabytes. What we work on in our project concerns high volumes of data and sub-second response time. Reliability is extremely important. When a scanner is not responding this means a financial loss. I really like these kinds of challenges.”

“There a lot of problems that need to be solved, that makes it a great place to work”

“ASML in general is a very good company to work with. The work-life balance is excellent and there is an engineering culture. The culture is really open and good ideas can be put on the table and are discussed directly with management. Furthermore, the culture is really diverse, very multi-cultural; you hear different views of people with a lot of different cultural backgrounds. That adds to work pleasure as well. But what is most important: ASML has a lot of challenges to offer me, there are a lot of problems that need to be solved and therefore it is a great place to work.”