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Axcelis' Low-K Dry Strip Tool Sees Rapid Acceptance from Major Chipmakers.

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BEVERLY, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 21, 2004

Company's investment in zero-damage cleaning process pays off with

multiple orders

Axcelis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACLS) has won multiple orders for RadiantStrip 320Lk, the only 300mm photoresist dry strip and cleaning system that does not damage sensitive low-k dielectric materials found in today's most advanced chip designs. The orders, which come from three major chipmakers in North America, Taiwan and Singapore, signify the rapid acceptance of Axcelis' RadiantStrip 320Lk technology less than a year after its introduction.

Launched in May 2003, Axcelis' RadiantStrip 320Lk is the result of nearly five years of focused research and collaboration with customers and suppliers of low-k materials. The system uses Axcelis' patented zero-damage He:H2 process to remove photoresist and residues from wafers during the chipmaking process. The first orders began shipping to customers in November.

"Today, there are several low-k materials under serious consideration by chipmakers, and all of them can benefit from the damage-free performance of the RadiantStrip 320Lk," said Jan-Paul van Maaren, vice president and general manager of Axcelis Curing and Cleaning Systems. "In developing our He:H2 process, Axcelis has taken a long-term view of our customers' needs through the 45nm technology node. As a result, we believe we are one generation ahead in developing a damage-free resist strip and clean process - and chipmakers around the globe have taken notice."

According to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, photoresist removal processes represent a top-five challenge to the integration of low-k materials. This is because conventional dry resist strip cleaning processes introduce latent damage in low-k materials, leading to adverse changes in the materials' insulating properties and physical characteristics.

"RadiantStrip 320Lk is fundamentally different than conventional processes," van Maaren added. "Our data shows that the system does not alter the shape or composition of the low-k material. In evaluations of the tool, our customers saw significant advantages over competitive approaches. We are particularly proud of the fact that we gained market share in the dry strip segment, according to Dataquest, jumping from 15 percent in 2002 to 18 percent in 2003, due to our complete front- and back-end-of-line strip solutions."

Based on Axcelis' field-proven 300mm platform, RadiantStrip 320Lk supports the industry's back-end-of-line cleaning requirements for low-k integration through the 45nm technology node. As a stand-alone dry strip system, the tool offers up to 25 percent lower cost of ownership compared to integrated (in situ) etch/strip approaches. The system's unique downstream microwave chamber design provides consistent strip rates, excellent process uniformity and high selectivity to low-k materials.

As a result of the positive response by customers in the low-k arena, Axcelis expects continued growth of its RadiantStrip 320Lk product over the next several years and anticipates that this growth will drive future market share gains.

About Axcelis Technologies, Inc.

Axcelis Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Beverly, Massachusetts, provides innovative, high-productivity solutions for the semiconductor industry. Axcelis is dedicated to developing enabling process applications through the design, manufacture and complete life cycle support of ion implantation, rapid thermal processing, and cleaning and curing systems. Axcelis Technologies has key technology centers in Beverly, Massachusetts, and Rockville, Maryland as well as in Toyo, Japan through its joint venture, SEN. The company's Internet address is: www.axcelis.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes certain statements, known as "forward-looking statements," which express the current expectations of Axcelis management. Certain risks and uncertainties could cause actual results to differ materially from those currently anticipated as expressed in this press release. Among other factors, such risks and uncertainties include the continuing demand for semiconductor equipment, relative market growth, continuity of business relationships with major customers, competitive pressure on sales and pricing, increases in material and other production costs that cannot be recouped in product pricing and global economic and financial conditions. These risks and other risk factors relating to Axcelis are described more fully in the most recent Form 10-K filed by Axcelis and in other filings from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 21, 2004
Words:668
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