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Byline: James DeTar
As semiconductor makers put smaller and smaller components on chips, they need better ways to test them.
That's where FEI Co. comes in. The Hillsboro, Ore., company is a leader in selling test equipment to chip research labs. Among other things, its products let designers see 3-D images of the insides of chips and use X-rays to scan for flaws.
For the most recent quarter, ended June 30, FEI's sales were $94 million, up 21% over the same quarter in 2000. Earnings jumped 80% to $8.6 million, or 27 cents a share, compared with last year.
Instead of making products for just labs, FEI is moving into test equipment for chip factories. Expanding into that market could lift sales a lot.
The company is starting to partner …