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Product Technology News

Sub-90-nm Strip System

Mattson Technology

Fremont, CA

The Aspen III eHighlands dry strip system handles critical front-end-of-line (FEOL) and back-end-of-line (BEOL) process applications, including photo-resist strip over low-k materials. Available in 200- and 300-mm versions, the tool helps chipmakers overcome the integration challenges associated with copper/low-k materials. Building on the Aspen III Highlands, the system features a proprietary inductively coupled plasma source. Its bias capability enables independent control of ion energy and ion density at low pressures, minimizing damage to low-k materials. Performing low-k strip, barrier removal, and copper surface-treatment processes in situ, it provides up to 35% lower cost of ownership than dielectric etch tools. In
addition to copper/low-k processes, the tool performs ultra-low-k ashing and barrier-layer removal. With a low-pressure regime, it offers improved profile control and low-k material preservation and has a wide process window.

Integrated Flow Controller


Chaska, MN

The NT integrated flow controller helps semiconductor equipment manufacturers perform chemical handling and blending close to the point of use. The controller's small footprint saves space in liquid-handling systems and allows toolmakers to integrate more process functionality. Its DeviceNet communications protocol delivers advanced diagnostics, allowing it to monitor, troubleshoot, and solve problems. By enabling excellent control of the chemical blending process, the unit provides advanced chemical process control,
reduces waste, and lowers chip manufacturing costs.

Wafer Heater Assembly

GE Quartz

Strongsville, OH

An integrated heater assembly platform helps optimize the performance of heaters and electrostatic chucks in chipmaking equipment. The custom assembly, a critical subsystem in semiconductor wafer chambers, combines customer-specific mechanical, electrical, and thermal engineering with advanced chemical-vapor-deposited ceramic heaters and e-chucks. By considering the thermal, plasma, mechanical, and electrical boundary conditions of the chamber, the integrated heater assembly design optimizes the performance of the entire system. The company's heaters and e-chucks are mechanically and thermally more robust than sintered-ceramic alternatives. They enable temperature ramp rates exceeding 10°C/sec, with maximum temperatures up to 1300°C. They also offer precise temperature control, generally within ±1%.

Deep Reactive Ion Etch Tool

Surface Technology Systems

Newport, Wales, UK

Pegasus, a deep reactive ion etch system, relies on advanced silicon etch (ASE) technology. Based on the Bosch process, the tool achieves etch rates for silicon greater than 25 µm/min with excellent profile control and resist selectivity. The increased etch rate and improved uniformity lead to higher throughput and device yields. The process module's high-density decoupled source increases etch rates by 30% and mask selectivity by 35% or more over competing systems. More-uniform plasma at the wafer surface results in improved across-wafer uniformity for both etch rate and critical dimension control. The system includes a range of software and hardware features that reduce feature roughness and improve profile control. Its modular design results in a reduced footprint and improved accessibility.

Hyper-NA Immersion Litho Tool


Veldhoven, The Netherlands

An immersion lithography system with a numerical aperture (NA) of 1.2 can perform volume chip production at the 45-nm node. The Twinscan XT:1700i enables chipmakers to improve resolution by 30%. Better resolution allows fabs to achieve more chips per wafer or more functionality per chip. At the 45-nm node, the fourth-generation dual-stage tool offers a throughput of 122 wafers/hr. Its catadioptric lens design combines refractive components with mirrors to create a hyper-NA lens. With a maximum field size of 26 × 33 mm, the system provides polarized illumination for improved contrast and exposure latitude at full throughput. At an NA of 1.2, polarization enhances resolution by 5 nm.

Electrochemical Plating System

Ebara Technologies

Tokyo, Japan/Sacramento, CA

Designed to address process challenges associated with 45- and 32-nm plating technology, the E-Rex 300 ECP electrochemical plating system eliminates seed-film-dependent plating performance through the use of a porous resistive element. The tool also has an edge-profile control mechanism, providing uniform film-deposition rates across the entire wafer regardless of variations in seed-film thickness and plating chemistry. The unit offers face-up wafer orientation and has an inert anode, which is maintenance-free and contributes to a low cost of consumables. A high-speed solution-introduction feature reduces defects associated with typical wafer face-down immersion technologies. The tool is extendable to direct on-barrier applications with no hardware modifications, offering chipmakers increased flexibility.

Miniature Linear Encoders


Schaumburg, IL

With a postage-stamp-sized scanning unit and high accuracy, the LIF400 series of miniature incremental exposed linear encoders offer travel up to 1 m and maintain a long wave-accuracy grade of ±3 µm. They meet the needs of both coarse and fine measurement applications (4 µm down to 10 nm of resolution) and are suitable for installations with limited space or large mounting-tolerance requirements. The encoders feature a Supradur grating, which employs precisely measured layers of glass and reflective material to prevent contaminants from interfering with light-based noncontact scanning. An optical limit switch allows users to place limits anywhere directly on the scale, enabling the scale to be mounted closer to a motor than scales with magnetic switches.

Metal Thin-Film Metrology Tool

Rudolph Technologies

Flanders, NJ

Designed to meet metal thin-film metrology requirements at the 45-nm node and beyond and offering throughput of more than 100 wafers/hr, the MetaPulse-III 300 metrology tool can lower the cost of ownership by up to 40% over its predecessor. The tool's modular design offers advances in patented Pulse technology. Built on the Vanguard-II platform, it can be combined with other metrology technologies to characterize a wide range of advanced processes. Applications include measurement and characterization of metal gates, elastic modulus, ultrathin films, advanced copper barriers, copper shunt, electroplated copper, copper CMP thickness and surface profile, advanced silicides, silicon-on-insulator, silicon germanium, thermal conductivity, and low-k-dielectric adhesion. The system's EASy software combines data from multiple technologies into fast, user-friendly results.

Advanced Precursor Materials

Air Liquide

Paris, France

Aloha, a dedicated product line and worldwide organization devoted to the development, manufacture, and support of advanced precursor materials and delivery systems, focuses on low-k, silicon nitride, and high-k materials. The product line includes chemical vapor deposition and atomic layer deposition precursors for sub-130-nm applications. Quantities of materials ranging from a few grams of sub-45-nm R&D products to tons of low-k materials can be supplied. The program includes OEM-qualified delivery systems, ultra-high-purity canisters, and stringent specifications. New process solutions are developed using in-house ALD, CVD, and plasma-enhanced CVD deposition, and proprietary molecules are introduced to the market through partnerships with key customers and OEMs.

High-Temperature Vacuum Curing

Yield Engineering Systems (YES)

San Jose, CA

For use in polyimide cure, bake, copper anneal, and aluminum anneal processes, the PBX-300 series of high-temperature vacuum cure systems are fully automated 200- and 300-mm tools with patented laminar-flow oven technology. The system has a combined power of 12,750 W for heating the process chamber. Process gas is preheated before entering the chamber. Temperature is controlled using a single thermocouple located above the wafers to match product temperature. Six thermocouples located on the outside top and bottom of the chamber, between each pair of chamber heaters, measure chamber temperature. The system is alternately evacuated and brought back close to atmospheric pressure with preheated nitrogen. This process removes oxygen, moisture, and solvent vapors from the chamber interior. During processing, an oxygen concentration of <10 ppm is maintained.

X-Ray Imaging System


Garbsen, Germany

The HDX-ray 16-bit imaging chain can be used with the complete series of Fox x-ray inspection systems. The unit captures high-resolution images with filmlike quality in real time, providing sharp digital images for the inspection of applications requiring high magnification, such as MEMS/MOEMS and high-density interconnects. The fully integrated 2.6-megapixel imaging subsystem features more than 65,000 grey scales with freely selectable frame rates from 1 to 30 frames per second, allowing for precise imaging of low-contrast, low-density as well as high-contrast, high-density structures and materials at the same time. Powered by a user-friendly graphical user interface, the unit is available on all Fox systems or as an upgrade to existing systems.

EFEM Ionization Systems

Ion Systems

Berkeley, CA

Model 5225 ionization systems, which include three digital AeroBars, meet the requirements of equipment front-end modules (EFEMs) for 300-mm tools. The product lengths meet the industry's tight spacing requirements for two-wide, three-wide, and four-wide loadport EFEM applications. The units' emitter-point layout maximizes ionization coverage and density over the wafer at each loadport opening. Completely integratable with process tools' control systems, the units offer real-time monitoring and adjustment of ionizer performance, alarm notification, recipe management, and setup/calibration. They also use patented single-crystal silicon emitter points, which exceed ISO Class 2 cleanliness specifications.

PVD Copper/Seed Tool

Novellus Systems

San Jose, CA

Inova Next, a 300-mm metallization system for copper barrier/seed ap-
plications at the 45-nm node and beyond, features advanced physical vapor deposition (PVD) technology and ion-induced atomic layer deposition (iALD). Based on hollow-cathode magnetron PVD technology, the system improves barrier nonuniformity, sidewall asymmetry, and the etch-to-deposition ratio. It also lowers copper-seed-layer overhang and increases sidewall coverage, enabling fill of 45-nm structures. In addition to offering PVD chambers, the tool enables the integration of an iALD chamber. The iALD tantalum nitride (TaN) film replaces PVD TaN as the barrier layer for copper, reducing line resistance because of the highly conformal and ultrathin nature of the film. The tool's patented iALD TaN process deposits a conducting film that has a resistivity of <300 µ Ω-cm.

Multigas Leak Detector


Syracuse, NY

Ecotec E3000, a multigas leak detector, reduces careless sniffing and can minimize operator error. It detects leaks at a greater distance from the leak source than other systems and uses a sniffer tip that can be moved faster without missing leaks. The gas-specific system performs sniffer leak checking of both helium and process gases to sensitivities greater than 5 × 10–7 atm•cm3/sec. At pressurized gas cylinders or gas lines, the unit can check equivalent inboard leak rates greater than 1 × 10–9 atm•cm3/ sec. Operator errors are minimized through the I-Guide mode, which ensures that the correct number of locations (e.g., the number of joints) on each gas line and pigtail is tested and that each location is tested for the predetermined minimum time.

CMP Metrology System

Nova Measuring Instruments

Rehovot, Israel

An integrated metrology system for CMP applications, the NovaScan 3090 can be used in conjunction with the polishers from various equipment manufacturers. The system applies noncontact deep-ultraviolet spectrophotometry and scatterometry to measure the thickness and topography of dielectric and conducting transparent films. Its main applications include thickness measurement of dielectric, polysili-
con, and very thin conducting layers on multilayer silicon or metal stacks. It supports all industry requirements for thin-film measurement in front-end applications, such as shallow-trench isolation. The instrument enables users to move from solid measurement pads to array measurements, which is critical for process control of advanced technologies at the 65-nm node and below.

Gas-Pressure, Flow-Control Devices


Virginia Beach, VA

A line of specialty gas-pressure
and flow-control products includes the 700 Semiconductor–series pressure regulator. Precision machined from low-sulphur 316L stainless-steel VAR, the unit delivers ultra-high-purity, high-pressure, low-hazard gases such as halocarbons, carrier gases, and cylinder purge gases that are free of contributing contamination and particulates. The 710 Semiconductor–series pressure regulator, with a tied-diaphragm design, includes a poppet directly connected to the diaphragm to assure positive shutoff. This unit can handle hazardous gases such as chlorine, ammonia, arsine, and silane. The 483/486-series brass and stainless-steel high-flow regulators deliver high-purity gases at very high flow rates for diverse applications, including clean dry air.

Trace-Moisture Analyzer


Warrington, PA

Whether it is used on a stationary analytical rack or a portable cart, the Tracer 2 trace-moisture analyzer provides 0.5-ppb moisture detection and rapid response time. Based on Faraday's Law, the instrument measures moisture through electrolysis. The electrical current generated relates directly to the moisture concentration of the test gas. Because it relies on an absolute measure, the unit requires no sensor calibration. In addition, two units of the compact analyzer system can fit into one standard panel-mount case, enabling the measurement of two gas lines at a time.

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