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KLA Korea Engineer’s Technical and Creative Passions Drive Innovation

Jan 23, 2024 3 min read

Growing up as the son of a technical high school teacher, Hongcheon Yang, application development engineer, KLA Korea, was inspired by a home full of transistors, microprocessors, PCB boards and programming language books. He developed a passion for electronic devices and applications – a drive that motivated him through his education and career at KLA.

During high school, Hongcheon also discovered an interest in expressing his creativity through choreography and producing music using electrical instruments.

“My college undergraduate senior project was developing a multi-touch image processing system for DJ consoles.”

Hongcheon Yang

Today He Pursues Next-Generation Chip Performance

In his role, Hongcheon focuses on the future of semiconductor performance. He supports new overlay control technology development and tool adoption for global KLA customers.

His team focuses on leading-edge patterning and overlay solutions that optimize semiconductor performance and enable pattern placement error measurement at the sub-nanometer level.

“It’s more challenging than ever as future semiconductor patterns control require less than nanometer-level precise control. A human hair is approximately 80,000-100,000 nanometers wide, so we are operating at an incredibly small scale.”

Hongcheon Yang

Hongcheon’s work requires strong collaboration with various KLA divisions and customers to prove the value of theoretical concepts and achieve reliable control and manufacturing results. He adds, “I feel the most accomplishment when these new tools and optimized application solutions are in production to manufacture customers’ next-generation chips, and I see they are running all the new electronic devices – phones, watches, cars. Everywhere.”

Working with Many Cultures and Inspiring the Future

Hongcheon enjoys and appreciates that his team is comprised of people from many countries and ethnicities who bring together diversity of experiences and ideas. He sees innovation thrive in KLA’s diverse and supportive environment built on communication, understanding, global culture, skills and knowledge.

As an expert in his field, Hongcheon also enjoys communicating with other innovators on the future of semiconductor technologies.

“I was especially fortunate to represent KLA at SEMICON Korea last year, sharing our innovations and inspiring future generations who will join this industry,” he says. “Semiconductors are ubiquitous, and I am proud to be part of a company that helps our customers to create the future, connect the world and advance humanity.”

Taking it Easy

When he’s not busy working, Hongcheon still takes time to compose music and practice choreography. Now a dad, Hongcheon wants to inspire his son with the same curiosity that his own father had instilled in him.

He also enjoys being outdoors and going camping with his family.

“The power of nature is amazing,” he says. “Last year we went camping at Jeju Island in Korea for two weeks with my son and our 2-year-old dog, Mako. It was so fun to relax with my family and refresh in nature.”

Check out KLA’s booth at SEMICON Korea 2024 from Jan. 31-Feb. 2; KLA’s Stephen Hiebert, Wansung Park and Hyocheon Kwon will discuss technology and other timely industry topics. Read more about KLA’s 30 years in South Korea with some insight from longtime employees and learn how KLA Korea is planning for the future.

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