May 15, 2012 -- Deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) is a structuring process originally used to make micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS). This process enables achieving etch depths of 100s of micrometers with almost vertical sidewalls with very high aspect ratio (> 50:1 in some cases). The process was first developed by Robert Bosch, and thus it is also called the “BOSCH process” and is used whenever high aspect ratios are targeted. SPP, the equipment manufacturer, obtained a license from Bosch to exploit the technology.
This agreement has led to incredible growth of the DRIE market. First used for production of accelerometers, the process is used today for production of ink jet heads, pressure sensors, gyroscopes, micro phones and micro actuators. But the use of the process has become popular outside of the MEMS world, for advanced semiconductor packaging applications.
“From 2011 to 2017, the number of DRIE-processed wafers will jump from 5.4M to more than 27M (all wafer sizes). This is >30% CAGR”, explains Dr Eric Mounier, senior technology & market analyst, Yole Développement.
|Figure. DRIE-processed wafer shipments, 2011-2017, all wafer sizes. SOURCE: Yole.|
Yole Développement released “DRIE Technology & Market,” analyzing the technical & economic evolution of the DRIE technology. This report includes 2011-2017 market forecasts for DRIE in $M value and number of equipment (by applications), 2011-2017 market forecast for DRIE chemistry, an overview of the different DRIE approaches, a description of the applications for DRIE with main characteristics as well as the equipment players market shares and competitive information.
Yole Développement’s analysis describes DRIE applications such as manufacturing MEMS, advanced packaging, power devices, and emerging applications (micro gears, auto-focus, microfluidics, resonators, more); 2011-2017 DRIE equipment forecast by application, wafer size in chambers, US$M value; chemistry forecast; and DRIE vendor profiles and their market shares.
The DRIE process was first used for accelerometer and gyroscope production for automotive applications. Although DRIE continues to be used for accelerometers, the growth is no longer restricted to this application. Continuous growth for MEMS accelerometers was observed in 2011. Although the device price pressure is very important in smartphones, further penetration on feature-phones was observed and new markets appeared (such as tablets). Moreover, the market for consumer gyroscopes skyrocketed in 2011. Indeed most handset OEMs adopted gyroscopes for their flagship smartphones or tablets. 3-axis gyroscopes will be the hottest MEMS product in the coming years as the penetration of gyroscopes will keep increasing. Today, most of the inertial MEMS have a comb-drive structure. Therefore, DRIE needs to be used for micromachining. From 2014, combo sensor integration (a combination of several inertial sensors in one single package) will be largely adopted. This will drive the growth of DRIE for inertial MEMS. The year 2012 also see new MEMS devices that will also use DRIE.
In the years 2005+, the emerging of the Through Si Vias (“TSV”) technology for 3D stacking gave a breath to the DRIE technology. Today, DRIE is used through three different technology platforms:
-- Interposers (vias are etched in a Si - or glass – wafer with no active die; this application also includes LEDs submounts)
-- 3D TSV “stack” / “ground vias” (vias are etched in the active die for dies such as logic, memories)
-- 3D WLP for CMOS Image Sensors
And the third application covers Power Devices, where DRIE is a competing technology for Super Junction MOSFETs. Niche “innovation” applications are also driving the DRIE market (e.g. micro components for watches).
This buoyant DRIE market is highly competitive with more than 10 vendors. Although SPTS is market leader in number of shipped DRIE chambers, SPTS is now challenged by Lam Research and many other vendors: Maxis, Panasonic Factory, SAMCO, AMAT, Hitachi High Tech, Oxford Instruments, TEL, AMEC… These companies are described in the report.
Yole Développement’s report also describes the forecast for DRIE-related chemistry (gas & hard mask thick resist). The report identifies technology trends, challenges and precise requirements for DRIE process, we screen competitive activity, and identify the potential applications that might require the use of DRIE technology.
Companies cited in the report:
AAC Acoustic, Air Liquide, Air Product, Akustica, AMEC, Analog Devices, Applied Materials, Brewer Science, Bosch, DuPont, Epson, Fairchild, FujiElectric, IceMos, Ipdia, Hitachi High-Tech, Hua-Hong NEC, Invensense, Kodak, Knowles, LAM Research, Maxis, Memjet, Nippon Kayaku, Oxford Instrument, Microchem, Panasonic Factory, Pelchem, SAMCO, Silecs, Shin-Etsu, ST Micro, Panasonic, Renesas, SPTS, Tokyo Electron, ULVAC, VTI, Ycchem…
Dr. Eric Mounier has a PhD in microelectronics from the INPG in Grenoble. He previously worked at CEA LETI R&D lab in Grenoble, France in Marketing dept. Since 1998 he is a co-founder of Yole Développement, a market research company based in France. At Yole Développement, Dr. Eric Mounier is in charge of market analysis for MEMS, equipment & material. He is Chief Editor of Micronews, and MEMS’Trends magazines (Magazine on MEMS Technologies & Markets).
Yole Développement is a group of companies providing market research, technology analysis, strategy consulting, media in addition to finance services. Learn more at www.yole.fr.