Fast recognition and location of registration marks on the wafer is essential requirement for alignment in e-beam direct writing applications. However, high speed alignment techniques often lead to deterioration of accuracy of alignment. The present paper describes a method for extracting the features of a registration mark from its SEM image, for storing it as a template and for detection of similar registration marks on the wafer. A knowledge base of the registration mark features is formed which is used for subsequent semi-heuristic comparison. © 1990.