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Compound semiconductors, MEMS, thin-film heads, and other nonmainstream applications are among the fastest growing segments of the chipmaking community. This series examines key manufacturing technologies in those segments through MICRO's focused lens of defect reduction, process and equipment control, and yield enhancement strategies.

(Special Apps): Adopting semiconductor metrology to meet the challenges of MEMS manufacturing
A survey of ink-jet MEMS technology shows that a metrology system designed for IC processes could be reconfigured to measure wafers with varying thicknesses, odd shpaes, and extreme topography. (April 2006)

(Special Apps): Raising yields of bonded silicon wafers with POU DI-water microfiltration and purification
A case study shows that the treatment of DI water with a submicron particle filter and a metal-ion purifier can decrease particulate contamination in bonded-silicon-wafer applications. (August/September 2005)

(Special Apps): Comparing the costs of photoresist coating using spin, spray, and electrodeposition systems
A study of spin, spray, and electrodeposition methods for coating photoresist determines that the last can be the most cost-effective approach if long bath
lifetime and throughput are maintained. (April 2005)

(Special Apps): Advancing real-time DRIE silicon trench etch-depth monitoring in MEMS applications
Joint vendor experiments show that a polarimetric camera can be used in conjunction with a deep reactive-ion etch tool during MEMS fabrication to perform in situ monitoring of etch depth. (October/November 2004)

(Special Apps): Introducing wide-band-gap silicon carbide production into a silicon fab
A case study describes how SiC device production was brought into an existing silicon fab with the goal of developing processes that maximized the utilization of the existing fab infrastructure. (July 2004)

(Special Apps): Using advanced macrodefect inspection technology in MEMS processes
Researchers show how they detected a defect on the ground plane below the sensor in a MEMS device using a tool that can track the changing appearance of defects in reverse and locates their source. (May 2004)

(Special Apps): Investigating the use of spray-coating technology in MEMS applications
Spray-coating technology can be used to coat challenging topographies, noncircular substrates, and multiple substrates simultaneously, while protecting delicate structures. (March 2004)

(Special Apps): Meeting process and equipment challenges in MEMS deep silicon-etch processes
A toolmaker survey investigates etch rate, sidewall morphology, pressure, and SOI endpoint detection challenges in MEMS manufacturing applications. (October/November 2003)

(Special Apps): Removing gold seed-layer materials using reactive ion etch
A fab discovered that the use of a high-density plasma reactor to remove the gold seed layer from compound semiconductors results in uniform film removal, high etch rates, and good throughput. (July 2003)

(Special Apps): Improving process consistency and yields of read/write heads using laser sonar metrology
A laser sonar metrology method for read/write head applications can measure metal films and film stacks nondestructively on product wafers, reducing the need for monitor wafers and increasing yields. (May 2003)

(Special Apps): Reducing defects in integrated surface-micromachined accelerometers
A defect reduction project enabled a MEMS manufacturer to reduce masking defects generated during photolithography, leading to improvements in sensor- and circuitry-related yields. (March 2003)

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