NEW TRIPOLI, PA—The metrology and inspection equipment market is expected to grow 12% annually to reach revenues of nearly $4 billion in 2005, according to a report from The Information Network, a market research company. The market is expected to grow from $2.5 billion in 2002 to $2.8 billion this year.

“The expanded use of (metrology and inspection) tools is assured with the increasing difficulties and higher production cost of semiconductor manufacturing,” says Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network. “Existing fabricators continue to upgrade their monitoring capabilities by adding more units. New, 300-millimeter fab construction will account for about 40% of sales in the inspection sector.”

The wafer defect review and inspection market is projected to grow 16% in 2003 to nearly $400 million. That sector had been down 42% in 2002 to $330 million. The nonmetal integrated thin-film sector is expected to exhibit the largest growth rate between 2003 and 2005—nearly 19% annually—to nearly $43 million in revenues.