July 27, 2011 - In case you missed it, SEMICON West is still the annual flagship show semiconductor industry, and even though it's not the big-iron displayfest it used to be, there are still plenty of new product introductions to go around. Here's just a brief rundown of some of the ones we tracked from this year's show.
The AX Series for RFIC and mixed-signal semiconductor test are modular, standards-based AXIe and PXI products, available as turnkey integrated systems or as configurable subsystem modules.
The AquiVantage wet-deposition process grows interconnect layers for interposer redistribution layers (RDLs) with cost savings of 50% vs. dry processes, the company claims, and significantly enhances the via-last backside wafer interconnect process. Using the same cost-saving technology as Alchimer’s wet processes for through-silicon vias (TSVs), AquiVantage provides extremely high-quality films with outstanding conformality. It also eliminates two costly photolithography steps and related processing, marking a fundamental advance in the construction of interposers for 3D chip packages. The technology accommodates thicker wafers, eliminating the need for wafer carriers and allows for highly scalloped via structures and faster etching times, which provide further cost advantages. AquiVantage is also well suited for via-last 3D packaging process flows, with similar savings in complexity and cost.
The Primo AD-RIE is a 2nd-generation 300mm very high frequency advanced decoupled reactive ion etch system includes an advanced RF system for process stability and repeatability; better tunability techniques for ultra-fine critical dimension (CD) uniformity, and enhanced chamber materials for higher yields and lower defects. A novel mini-batch cluster architecture can be flexibly configured with up to three dual-station process modules; each capable of dual- or single-wafer processing. A unique chamber design incorporates proprietary plasma confinement and showerhead technology. Other features include 2-13.5Mhz switchable RF and a 60MHz RF; symmetrically distributed and direct RF input for more uniform plasma density; proprietary plasma confinement and proprietary self-isolated RF match; direct resistive top electrode heating with closed-loop control; and triple-zone gas distribution with dual tuning gases. The company claims the tool delivers 35%-50% capital productivity gain vs. industry standard, a 30% smaller footprint vs. competing systems, and 20%-40% lower cost-of-ownership.
In a podcast interview, Ben Lee, director of technology, discusses more about the tool and where it's gaining traction.
The Vantage Vulcan RTP uses uniform heating on the unpatterned backside of the wafer, which it says results in a 3× decrease in nonuniformity. Unspecified "creative engineering" enables "extreme" cooldown rates and a broader range of temperatures, close to room temperature (~75°C-1300°C). Closed-loop control -- with sensors specifically designed for low temperatures, developed by AMAT and proprietary -- can dynamically control the wafer temperature.
The Centura DPN high dose gate stack system for oxynitride gate scaling system is designed to boost transistor performance by incorporating nitrogen atoms into the gate insulator to improve its electrical characteristics. The technique builds on Applied's pioneering decoupled plasma nitridation (DPN) technology, widely used in manufacturing advanced logic and memory devices, to help chipmakers to shrink transistor dimensions while maintaining optimum transistor performance.
The Endura HAR Cobalt PVD tool for periphery contacts replaces traditional titanium with lower-resistivity cobalt for transistor contact metallization, offering a production-proven method to boost switching speed and lower power consumption. The system leverages Applied's experience in cobalt physical vapor deposition (PVD) to deposit uniform films in high-aspect-ratio contact structures with 50% lower contact resistance than titanium. The Applied Endura Versa XLR W PVD system delivers up to a 20% reduction in gate stack resistivity, enabling a significant improvement in switching speed, a key requirement for gate scaling. An optimized reactor design significantly improves the lifetime of critical consumable components, enabling 10% lower cost-per-wafer, the company says. Together, the two products (PVD Co) replace the much cheaper TiCl4 process.
AMAT also tipped its Producer Black Diamond 3 deposition and Producer Nanocure 3 UV curing system, to create low-k dielectric films to insulate copper wire interconnects.
Avantor Performance Materials
J.T.Baker SLCT 128 is a new selective etch product for FEOL poly gate strain engineering. It etches an exposed silicon area creating a well-defined “sigma” shape for epitaxy, removes post-etch residue and acts as a preclean. Developed as a “self-cleaning” chemistry, no additional rinse is required for cleaning after the etch process. By creating well-defined crystallographic planes, it improves lattice matching between the deposited SiGe and the existing silicon for better device performance. Applications include strained silicon channels incorporating the use of silicon germanium (SiGe) and silicon nitride (SiN) to induce strain on the silicon lattice under the gate region, and FinFET structures where the semiconductor material is vertical rather than horizontal.
The Cee X-Series of spin coaters, developers, and hot plates delivers revolutionary interface capabilities and exceptional chemical compatibility, with a convenient, compact footprint. Enhancements include a stand-alone PC controller with a 7-inch diagonal full-color touch screen interface, a PTFE Teflon spin bowl for chemical compatibility, programmable hot plate lift pins, and excellent temperature uniformity (with ±0.3% temperature variation across the wafer).
TheGF40 and GF80 mass-flow controllers (MFC), available starting in August, feature a fast (<1sec)>
New Cat 5e flat silicone cables are rugged, flame retardant (UL 94V-0), free of contaminants and perform exceptionally well in extreme temperature conditions (-65°C to +260°C). The halogen-free cables feature a highly flexible, one-piece silicone encapsulation that will not delaminate or degrade due to extreme vibration or exposure to steam, water, chemicals, mechanical abuse, ozone and radiation (107 Roentgens). Application is in semiconductor automation, as well as mission-critical apps e.g. aircraft control systems and even the Space Shuttle.
DuPont Performance Polymers
The Kalrez 9300 and 9500 perfluoroelastomer parts for semiconductor wafer processing offer balanced performance in both remote and in situ plasma, and excellent resistance process chemistry in demanding deposition processes where ozone is prominent. The 9300 parts offer an alternative vs. many products to solve various sealing issues. The 9500 for SACVD and ash/strip processes offers ultra-low weight loss in remotely generated plasma and offers excellent resistance to ozone, ammonia and water vapor, with excellent heat resistance with very low outgassing, and maximum continuous service temperature rating of 310°C.
ESI debuted two LED packaging tools at SEMICON West: Model 5390 micromachining system for advanced LED via drilling and the AccuScribe 2600 LED wafer scribing system.
A new inline metrology module for the company's EVG850TB/EVG850DB automated temporary bonding and debonding systems allows customers to implement in-line process control for thin-wafer processing, to help reduce defects and wafer breakage. The module can detect a variety of process irregularities and defects during temporary bonding and debonding, including: total thickness variation of the carrier wafer, adhesive layer, bonded stack, and thinned wafer; bow/warp of the bonded stack; and voids in the bond interface.
EVG also released the 850SOI/450mm wafer bonding system for 450mm SOI wafers -- company exec Paul Lindner discusses the tool in an interview here.
A new silver (Ag) sintering technology designed into Henkel's Ablestik SSP2000 die-attach material enables high-volume power package production without pressure bonding. The silver particles are joined via a unique surface tension mechanism, thus avoiding pressure processing and eliminating single-package processing in a dedicated die bonder; the material can be cured in a standard batch oven at 200°C or higher. Ablestik SSP2000 can be processed on standard die bonding systems. Henkel says that the Ablestik SSP2000 can bring throughput up to 6000 units per hour vs. 30 packages/hr in a typical silver sintering die bond process. Applications include IGBTs and high power LED (HB-LED) packaging.
Also, Henkel (with STMicroelectronics) has developed a ScalPack die placement process using its Ablestik C100 conductive die attach film materials for production of very small package configurations, to increase workability in leadframe packaging (over die attach pastes). The 15 and 30μm Ablestik C100 materials eliminate die tilt, enable thinner die processing, and improve bondline control. Workability has been established on die ranging from 0.2mm2 to 6mm2 for multiple package types, including QFNs and QFPs.
The CATLAB thermal microreactor system is designed for precise characterization of catalytic and of general thermal reaction studies, the system features a 1000°C fast response furnace with integrated mass spectrometer and is fully programmable for both automated and manual operation with the CATsoft program controlling furnace temperature and ramp rate, gas stream selection and flow rates from up to eight gas streams, mass spectrometer function and data processing.
Indium is featuring its six-month-old copper-pillar flip-chip flux WS-641, a water-soluble semiconductor-grade dipping flux designed for microbump copper pillar attach, including 2.5D chip-on interposer as well as chip-on-chip or chip-on-wafer flip-chip applications. WS-641's rheology and chemistry is suitable for dipping down to 40μm pitch. WS-641 has an activator system powerful enough to promote solder wetting even on mildly oxidized copper. Its cleanability in deionized water and NIA (no-intentionally-added) halogen-free nature makes it environmentally-friendly, as well.
The JEM-2800 is a 200kV transmission electron microscope that delivers high throughput analysis for process and quality control of mass produced semiconductor and materials samples. It features high resolution imaging in TEM, STEM, and SE modes; ultrasensitive elemental mapping with a large angle Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS); Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy (EELS) for chemical analysis; critical dimension analysis; tomography; and in situ observation of samples. The TEM functions without use of the traditional fluorescent screen on the electron column. Additional features and key specifications of the JEM-2800 include a Schottky field-emission electron gun, highly stable eucentric side-entry goniometer stage, 100×-150M× magnification range using STEM, 0.1nm TEM resolution, and 0.20nm BF/DF STEM resolution.
The new generation of KLAC's inspection system, the Surfscan SP3, uses DUV illumination and is extendible to 450mm wafers. Defects such as crystalline pits, terracing, voids, etc., are problematic for current generation tools when applied at 28nm and below. A module inspects the backside of wafers for defects that might deform the wafer shape during lithography.
Amir Azordegan, senior director of marketing for Surfscan at KLA-Tencor, describes more about how Surfscan SP3 works in an interview with SST's Debra Vogler.
The BPS 2000 magnetically levitated centrifugal pump has no bearings to wear out or seals to break down and fail. It has two versions: High-pressure (for large-scale CMP slurry, chemical- and ultrapure water applications up to 100psi (6.9 bar), and a High-flow for cleaning, plating, and other high-purity processes, with up to 37 gallons/min (140 liters/min).
The paradigmE Si silicon etch system features Mattson Technology's proprietary Faraday shield designed to improve etch process control and enhance mean-time-between-clean (MTBC) performance by up to three times over competitive systems. It also enables true independent control of ion density and energy, providing improved profile control and minimized sputtering to reduce maintenance costs -- resulting in >30% better cost-of-ownership advantages vs. other etch systems, the company claims.
The FlexTRAK-WF plasma system is a low-cost, cassette-based automated plasma treatment system handles five wafer sizes with minimal hardware change-over and high throughput for a wide variety of wafers and other flat substrates. An integrated robot and aligner automate the processing of a wide variety of wafers and other flat substrates. The system offers high throughput (up to 50 wafers per hour), while maintaining superior plasma uniformity for ashing, etching, and descum for wafer-level packaging (WLP) and general wafer-based processing applications. Two separate wafer load stations offer production continuity and minimal idle time. a universal cassette stage and multi-size aligner allow for processing of wafer sizes ranging from 3-in to 200mm. The system also utilizes integrated wafer recognition technology to detect and adjust for potential issues such as wafer protrusion, double-stacking, and cross-slotting.
The MH-910W + Spectrum S-920N dispenser automated workcell for film-frame wafer-level packaging applications can be used to cap MEMS and image sensors, coat wafers for imaging devices such as digital light processing (DLP), jet thin coatings to improve laser dicing, and more. Integrating the dispensing and handling operation into a single workcell improves throughput and simplifies the packaging line, according to the company. Advanced process controls prevent errors during transport and dispense. Both the MH-910W film-frame loader/unloader and S-920N dispensing system are fully enclosed with interlocked doors and windows. For service, access panels are removable and the system includes built-in software maintenance tools. Handling features include programmable transport speed, multiple sensors, soft-touch grippers, and active pinch wheels. Film-frame wafers are pulled from one cassette and returned to a second cassette after dispense. A frame sensor identifies the next available wafer. Sensors also ensure cassette slots are empty before returning processed wafers to the second cassette.
The VECTOR CFD (Conformal Film Deposition) family of films for Novellus' VECTOR Express, VECTOR Extreme, and VECTOR Excel plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) systems consists of oxide, doped oxide and nitride films that are deposited at 50-450°C, to accommodate FEOL implant processes, deposition directly on photoresist, and shallow junction depths and doping profiles. They are used for emerging sub-2Xnm logic and memory applications, including front-end-of-line (FEOL) liners and spacers used in tri-gate transistors and FinFETs, bitline spacers, etch stop layers, resistor protect layers, double patterning spacers using amorphous carbon or photoresist cores, and through-silicon via (TSV) dielectric liners. The films can be used to create a spacer-based double patterning scheme, where photoresist is used as the patterning core, eliminating one etch and one lithography step.
The Aerosol Jet Marathon series for high-volume printed electronics manufacturing provides an alternative to traditional manufacturing solutions such as wire bond, screen printing, spin coating, and other PVD/CVD process.
The UltiKleen Excellar ER filter uses an advanced molecular surface tailoring (MST) process to remain wet in critical aqueous chemicals like SC1 and SC2. It also features an improved fluid dynamics construction, providing a robust structure that easily stands up to the extreme conditions of new higher-temperature SPM processes. The new filter has been shown to reduce sub 20nm particles by more than 25% compared to previous designs in 120°C sulfuric acid filtration.
The new 5nm PE-Kleen filter, made with ultrahigh-purity, high-density polyethylene, is specifically target defects in the 22nm semiconductor patterning process. It is designed to complement Pall’s suite of membrane materials, allowing for optimal material selection, depending upon the patterning chemistry. The new filter is available in several different cartridge and capsule configurations.
Pall also is debuting an all-stainless steel PSP Sealed-In-Line filter assembly for use in bulk gas and specialty gas distribution systems. The filter removes particles ≥3nm with a 9 log efficiency, and will be available in a variety of sizes and connections to accommodate different flow rates.
Test equipment maker Rasco (a subsidiary of Cohu) added two MEMS testers to its product line, targeting pressure and acoustic testing.
The new MCL line of ironless linear motors features four sizes with graded lengths and a maximum force range of between 20 and 1,700 Newtons -- this enables an acceleration of up to 300m/s2 and a maximum speed of up to 1,300 m/min. Several primary components can be set up in a sequence or parallel to each other. An optional Hall sensor unit can detect the position for the initial commutation. Typical use is in pick-and-place machines, general automation processes, and measuring or laser structuring machines for solar technology.
The FC300R high force die/flip chip bonder offers hands-free placement capabilities for chip-to-substrate or chip-to-wafer assembly as well as chip-to-chip stacking, particularly suited for 3D IC applications using high-density through-silicon vias (TSV). It offers submicron post-bonding accuracy at bonding forces ranging from 0.4N-4000N, and accommodates components from 150×150μm to 100×100mm and substrates up to 200×200mm or 300mm wafers. A new loading robot operates in parallel with the bonding process module, storing a large number of waffle packs or GELPAK; an optional direct die feeder from diced wafer on frame enables handling of thin die, and a tape and reel feeder is also available for device loading. The FC300R makes use of up to three pre-alignment and inspection optics subsystems in the robotic feeding area to ensure proper pick up of tiny components like laser diodes. Image processing is available for a wide variety of recognition functions such as pattern search, synthetic pattern generation, calipers, edge detection. It also provides contrast enhancement. Process-head reconfigurations (high-force, low-force, and UV curing) support various applications: thermocompression bonding, reflow bonding (e.g. RF and opto devices), and adhesive bonding and UV-NIL.
The Meldin 7001 thermoset polyimide material is used in structural components (e.g. insulators, isolators, and retainers) in plasma etching equipment, such as plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PEVCD), and high-density plasma chemical vapor deposition (HDPCVD), to provide plasma and chemical etch resistance, low outgassing, and excellent purity. It can retain its mechanical properties longer when exposed to inherently high temperatures reaching 350°F and higher. Low outgassing and high purity reduce the amount of vapor and trace elements that can result in contaminated semiconductor wafers.
CleanMount, released in April, is a crevice-free heavy-duty (cast aluminuma alloy) mounting for desktop displays & keyboards, for mounting on a wall, rail system, machine/bench top, or floor post. Curved surfaces throughout the unit discourage the accumulation of air-borne particulates, and the entire unit can be easily wiped down with minimal effort. It has 16" of vertical counterbalanced adjustment and the display can be tilted and rotated 340°; CleanMount itself features 180° of swiveling articulation on the mounting end.
The MaskTrack Pro InSync is a holistic in-fab extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) mask management product that synchronizes mask cleaning, handling, inspection, and storage. The tasks are performed in a single- or cluster-style controlled environment. MTP InSync operates in a zero particle regime to maintain mask integrity when entering the EUV lithography scanner vacuum environment. The MaskTrack Pro InSync interfaces directly with the specific EUV Dual Pod in a fully controlled environment, allowing direct transfer of the Dual Pod from the scanner to the MaskTrack Pro reticle cleaning tool. It is designed to cluster mask cleaning, transfer and storage of the inner pod in a pristine environment, with optional particle detection and inner pod cleaning. IMEC is installing the first tool in August.
Teledyne Hastings Instruments
The THCD-100 is a fully integrated 5-digit display and power supply for a wide choice of gas mass flow meters, gas mass flow controllers, and pressure transducers. It features a bright graphical VFD display, as well as user-convenient features including digital communications, alarm outputs with relays, configurable display units, and multiple transducer supplies.
The NE-Series etching systems are built to process smaller, fragile wafers/substrates, for difficult etching applications in MEMS, MOEMS, LED lights/lasers, power devices, FeRAM, and sensors. Inductively super magnetron plasma source technology operates at low process pressure and high plasma densities. They are offered in a wide range of configurations from single-chamber, to multiple chamber systems, with a variety of front-end set-ups and wafer transport systems. The systems can process single wafers of from 3” to 200mm size directly, and multiple wafers of smaller sizes, from 50mm to 150mm, using a tray.
The new UNECS-2000 ellipsometer features high-speed measurement and a compact size, with a motorized stage to measure sample sizes of up to 200mm. For high-speed measurement, high-order retarders are utilized to generate the spectrum carrying information regarding the wavelength-dependant multiple parameters of polarized light. It requires no mechanical or active components for polarization control, such as a rotating compensator and electro-optical modulator. Its snapshot method makes high-speed measurements possible.
A new 200mm version of the UX4-LEDs full-field projection lithography tool (the 150mm tool was released in Nov.2010) can achieve a high throughput of 120 wafers/hour, using the full-field projection method. It is completely noncontact (no mask damage), with special alignment technology for low visibility alignment marks, and a large depth-of-focus and special wafer chucking to cope with warped wafers. Resolution is 3μm L/S (365nm), with ±1μm overlay accuracy. An optional backside alignment function supports LED wafer-level-packaging applications.
The UX4-LEDs LLO 150 laser lift-off system for vertical-structure LED chips uses a KrF excimer laser (248nm) to strip GaN film from the entire surface of a 150mm sapphire substrate, enabling reuse of the substrate (and lowering LED manufacturing costs). The company says the tool offers "high yield and high throughput."
The VICTRA-ER hybrid FKM+PTFE seal, a combination of advanced FKM material (for sealing) plus PTFE (for radical resistance), to deliver enhanced anti-plasma and high-vacuum sealing properties in harsh plasma environments. The vacuum seal is maintained by the semiconductor-grade high-performance FKM material, and the plasma radicals are resisted by high-purity PTFE that won’t introduce particle or metallic contamination into your plasma process. Both RF and microwave-based plasmas are acceptable as long as the operating temperature of the seal remains at 200°C or lower. Semiconductor applications include: plasma etch (metal, poly, oxide), CVD (PECVD, HDP-CVD), PVD, plasma ashers, plasma strippers, and other plasma-assisted IC manufacturing processes. VICTRA-ER is available in AS-equivalent (i.e. AS568A standard) sizes, with other sizes are available upon request.
The SD1024G spectrograph, a direct replacement for the company's SD1024F, features a significant reduction of systematic noise to provide improved endpointing capability in moderate to low light applications. Its 200-800nm spectral range optical system employs a thermoelectrically cooled CCD detector with excellent ultraviolet (UV) response, high sensitivity, low noise, and wide dynamic range. It is designed for demanding semiconductor process control applications such as low exposed area contact etch, ion beam etch, and photomask etch, and also can be used within a spectral reflectometer for film thickness or depth measurement. A high-performance version (SD1024GH) incorporates very high efficiency optics for superior light throughput (higher signal) over the entire spectral range of the instrument.