Newport Corporation Announces Beta Launch of Edge Gripping Pre-Aligner

Patented Design Eliminates Contact with Wafer Backside During Pre-Alignment of Wafer

IRVINE, Calif., July 18, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Newport Corporation (Nasdaq:NEWP) today announced that its patented edge gripping pre-aligner, U.S. patent no. 6,357,996, is available for customer evaluations. This advanced pre-aligner eliminates any contact with the backside of the wafer.

As gate sizes shrink, the processing environment becomes more and more sensitive to particles, which can contaminate not only the wafer surface but the backside of the wafer as well. Pre-aligners historically have utilized either pins or a vacuum chuck to handle the wafer during the pre-alignment process. Invariably these intrusions lead to backside contamination of the wafer. The edge gripping pre-aligner only contacts the perimeter of the wafer, thereby eliminating any contact with the backside of the wafer.

"Eliminating backside contact means that the pre-aligner will not add any backside particles, which results in improved yields and lower cost of ownership," said Paul Bacchi, general manager of Newport's Kensington Laboratories unit. "Our patented edge gripping pre-aligner is designed to meet the market need for zero contact with the backside of the wafer. We take great pride in aligning our leading-edge technology with the needs of the marketplace."

The gripping mechanism is a series of capstans coupled by a continuous synchronous belt. Simultaneously rotating all the edge gripping capstans provides positive rotation of the wafer without wafer surface contact, which eliminates wafer backside damage. Synchronously driving all the capstans prevents slippage between each capstan and the wafer, thereby resulting in minimized edge contamination.

More information on Newport's semiconductor equipment product line is available on the company's Web site at

About Newport Corporation

Newport Corporation is a leading global supplier of advanced technology products and systems to the semiconductor, communications, electronics and research markets. The company provides components and integrated subsystems to manufacturers of semiconductor processing equipment, advanced automated assembly and test systems to manufacturers of communications and electronics devices, and a broad array of high-precision components and instruments to commercial, academic and government customers worldwide. Newport's innovative solutions leverage its expertise in precision robotics and automation, sub-micron positioning systems, vibration isolation and optical subsystems to enhance the capabilities and productivity of its customers' manufacturing, engineering and research applications. Newport is part of the Standard & Poor's Midcap 400 Index and the Russell 2000 Index.

Certain statements in this news release are 'forward-looking' statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. As discussed in Newport's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2001, assumptions relating to the foregoing involve judgments with respect to various matters, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many of which are beyond the control of Newport. Although Newport believes that the assumptions underlying the 'forward-looking' statements are reasonable, any of the assumptions could prove inaccurate and, therefore, there can be no assurance that the results contemplated in 'forward-looking' statements will be realized. In light of the significant uncertainties inherent in the forward-looking information included herein, the inclusion of such information should not be regarded as a representation by Newport or any other person that Newport's objectives or plans will be achieved. Newport undertakes no obligation to revise the 'forward-looking' statements contained herein to reflect such events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


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