Friday, August 31, 2018

Announcing Kronos™ 1080 and ICOS™ F160 Inspection Systems: Expanding KLA-Tencor's IC Packaging Portfolio

KLA-Tencor has announced it is expanding its integrated circuit (IC) packaging portfolio with two new defect inspection products designed to address a wide variety of IC packaging challenges: KronosTM 1080 and ICOS™ F160. The two new inspection systems join KLA-Tencor’s portfolio of defect inspection, metrology and data analysis systems that help accelerate packaging yield and increase die sort accuracy. You may find the official release here;

  • Kronos 1080 – offers production-worthy, high sensitivity wafer inspection for advanced packaging, providing key information for process control and material disposition.
  • ICOS F160 – examines packages after wafers have been diced, delivering fast, accurate die sort based on detection of key defect types—including sidewall cracks, a new defect type affecting the yield of high-end packages. 
 Kronos™ 1080 and ICOS™ F160 (Image shared by KLA-Tencor)

Aixtron: HLJ Technology Adds MOCVD Technology from AIXTRON

New customer will use AIX 2800G4-TM system to increase manufacturing capacity and epitaxial wafer size. AAIXTRON SE announced that HLJ Technology Co., Ltd., a Taiwanese VCSEL epitaxy and chip manufacturer, has ordered multiple AIX 2800G4-TM MOCVD sets to increase its wafer capacity as well as its epitaxial wafer size production line from 4-inch to 6-inch for high-volume manufacturing of vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL). AIXTRON’s fully automated Planetary Reactor systems will be supplied in 8x6-inch configuration in the course of Q4/2018 and beyond.

Source: LINK

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Micron to invest $3 billion in memory chip factory in Manassas, Virginia

[Venture Beat] Manassas, Virginia is best known as the site of the Battle of Bull Run in the American Civil War. And now it's home to an expanding chip factory, as Micron Technology announced today it is investing $3 billion by 2030 to make memory chips. 
Picture credit
Boise, Idaho-based Micron makes dynamic random access memory (DRAM), the chips that provide the memory for applications in personal computers and many other devices. It will also make NAND flash memory chips for long-term storage in a wide variety of devices.

The investment breaks down to about $250 million per year over 12 years, and it will create about 1,100 new jobs. That’s not a huge amount, but it does represent a commitment to keeping manufacturing and high-wage jobs in the U.S. at a time when the rest of the world is increasingly competitive at making chips, or the basic building blocks of electronic devices. 
Source: Venture Beat [LINK]

Monday, August 27, 2018

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Reshapes Technology Portfolio to Intensify Focus on Growing Demand for Differentiated Offerings

Santa Clara, Calif., August 27, 2018 – GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced an important step in its transformation, continuing the trajectory launched with the appointment of Tom Caulfield as CEO earlier this year. In line with the strategic direction Caulfield has articulated, GF is reshaping its technology portfolio to intensify its focus on delivering truly differentiated offerings for clients in high-growth markets.

GF is realigning its leading-edge FinFET roadmap to serve the next wave of clients that will adopt the technology in the coming years. The company will shift development resources to make its 14/12nm FinFET platform more relevant to these clients, delivering a range of innovative IP and features including RF, embedded memory, low power and more. To support this transition, GF is putting its 7nm FinFET program on hold indefinitely and restructuring its research and development teams to support its enhanced portfolio initiatives. This will require a workforce reduction, however a significant number of top technologists will be redeployed on 14/12nm FinFET derivatives and other differentiated offerings.
Globalfoundries Fab 8 Malta, NY (picture credit
“Demand for semiconductors has never been higher, and clients are asking us to play an ever-increasing role in enabling tomorrow’s technology innovations,” Caulfield said. “The vast majority of today’s fabless customers are looking to get more value out of each technology generation to leverage the substantial investments required to design into each technology node. Essentially, these nodes are transitioning to design platforms serving multiple waves of applications, giving each node greater longevity. This industry dynamic has resulted in fewer fabless clients designing into the outer limits of Moore’s Law. We are shifting our resources and focus by doubling down on our investments in differentiated technologies across our entire portfolio that are most relevant to our clients in growing market segments.”

Saturday, August 18, 2018

BOE to begin trial production of micro-OLED in early 2019 using ALD

[DigiTimes LINK] BOE Technology is making preparations for trial production of micro-OLED panels for AR/VR applications, according to a Korea-based ET News report. The report claims the follwoing:
  • production is planned for Kunming BOE Display Technology - a joint venture between BOE and the provincial government of Kunming in China.
  • BOE has begun purchasing production equipment needed for the plant, including sputters, CVD (chemical vapor deposition), AOI (automated optical inspection) and ALD (atomic layer deposition) equipment, to pave the way for the trial production set in early 2019.
  • Kunming BOE Display aims to roll out one millions units of OLED panels a year with panel sizes ranging from 0.5- to 0.8-inch. 

BOE Technology detailed a USD170 Million investment in China’s First Micro-OLED Plant in Kunming in 2017 [LINK]. According to the news release Chinese OLED tech firm Olightek Opto-Electronic Technology Co. will invest CNY200 million through OLED micro-display related intangible assets and Dianzhong Industry Development Group Co. will put up CNY95 million. Kopin Technology Shenzhen Co., the Chinese subsidiary of major American electronics manufacturer, Kopin Corp., will provide the remaining CNY35 million.

Kopin has entered the OLED microdisplay market for mobile VR and AR with new technology and business model as a fully Fabless company using foundries for manufacturing. Please check here for a review [LINK]

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Is the semiconductor industry preparing for ruthenium again?

As cobalt is being implemented for 10/7 nm logic interconnects, the next contender on roadmaps for the leading IDMs and foundries is ruthenium. This is not the first time that ruthenium comes into play, ruthenium has on regular basis been on the DRAM and Logic manufacturers roadmaps. Last year there was several indications that ruthenium is back again including that you could spot a rice in ruthenium metal pricing. However, since I started in the semiconductor world 2003 I think that I have managed to been part of six ALD/CVD ruthenium programs and I am happy that one of them is still running (this was my shortest participation, all in all 7 days).

So why do you want to use an expensive and rather fancy metal like ruthenium in interconnects? The lowest Ru resistivity reported for use in interconnects is 15 μΩ-cm, at a cross-sectional area of 300 nm2. Ru damascene metallization is extendible to features with critical dimension around 10 nm and Ru may match Cu line resistance for line dimensions below ~17 nm.

Therefore, as semiconductor devices become even smaller at sub 7 nm nodes, Ru is a strong candidate for replacing some of the back end and middle of the line Cu as the interconnect material or as a liner/barrier/seed for metallization.

At AVS ALD 2018 in Incheon South Korea there was a high number of presentations on ruthenium. Besides the oral presentations here below there were also a number of interesting posters. You can get the abstracts by searching "ruthenium" in the AVS ALD conference planer (LINK).

Low Temperature Atomic Layer Deposition of Ru for Copper Metallization [Oral]
Anil Mane‚ Yan Zhang (Argonne National Laboratory); Amit Kumar‚ John Allgair (BRIDG); John Hryn‚ Jeffrey W. Elam (Argonne National Laboratory)

Insight in Surface Dependence and Diffusion-mediated Nucleation Mechanism of Ruthenium Atomic Layer Deposition on Dielectrics
Job Soethoudt (KU Leuven‚ Belgium); Yoann Tomczak (IMEC‚ Belgium); Fabio Grillo‚ Ruud Van Ommen (Delft University of Technology‚ Netherlands); Efrain Altamirano Sanchez (IMEC‚ Belgium); Annelies Delabie (KU Leuven‚ Belgium)

Inherent Substrate Selectivity and Nucleation Enhancement during Ru ALD using the RuO4-Precursor and H2-gas.
Matthias Minjauw‚ Hannes Rijckaert‚ Isabel Van Driessche‚ Christophe Detavernier‚ Jolien Dendooven (Ghent University‚ Belgium)
Conformal Growth of Low-resistivity Ru by Oxygen-free Thermal Atomic Layer Deposition [Oral]

Guo Liu‚ Jacob Woodruff‚ Daniel Moser (EMD Performance Materials)

Ruthenium: Advanced Nodes and Supply Chain Implications [Oral]
Oliver Briel‚ Don Zeng‚ Andreas Wilk (Umicore AG & Co. KG‚ Germany)
The last contribution by Umicore is especially interesting since it explain in great details the whole supply chain of ruthenium today including:
  • Ruthenium in electronic applications
  • Todays Ruthenium market - Platinum Group Metals market
  • Market drivers, Sources, uses, supply vs. demand,
  • Managing Ruthenium in your precursor portfolio
  • Sourcing strategies

Umicore Tweet: Oliver Briel's fascinating talk on ‘: Advanced Nodes and Supply Chain Implications’ (LINK).

Another event taking place this summer was the Imec US Technology Forum in San Fransisco, also here ruthenium was again on the agenda. According to a recent article in C&EA (LINK), reporting from the annual Imec Technology Forum, Imec experts made the case that the metal ruthenium has potential to replace copper in interconnect. Such a replacement could prevent the semiconductor industry from tripping over a wiring problem in coming years. The main information was given in a talk by Zsolt Tokei - Program Director Nano-interconnect, imec:

New Conductors - Reality or not? [LINK]
For several decades Cu, Al and W were used for interconnect wiring. Recently, due to resistance and reliability concerns alternatives to conventional conductors gained significant interest. Alternative metals are of interest to both memory and logic chips. In this talk imec’s conductor research activities will be showcased with a few implementation examples using damascene or subtractive processes. Benchmark to conventional conductors as well as future perspectives will be provided.

Before that there was also the IITC 2018 and there ruthenium was on the agenda as well. One interesting presentation was the Adelman et. al also from Imec, “Alternative Metals: from ab initio Screening to Calibrated Narrow Line Models” (LINK).
So as for now, ruthenium is on the roadmaps for 5 nm and below but not yet implemented in HVM by any Foundry. However there is a reverse engineering report claiming that ruthenium has been found in Intels 10 nm technology [LINK].

Further reading : Ruthenium Liners Give Way To Ruthenium Lines (LINK)

Much more detailed information on ALD/CVD metal precursors : TECHCET LLC Critical Materials Report(TM) on Metal & High-k  CVD and ALD precursors (LINK)

Meaglow Introduces its Hollow Cathode Plasma Sources to Four New Countries

While ALD2018 was going on in Incheon, South Korea, the first Meaglow hollow cathode plasma source in South Korea was being installed at Hanyang University in Ansan.

This is one of a number of firsts for Meaglow this year, we’ve also had our first sale to Israel (to Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), our first sale to Gerrmany (to Otto-von-Guericke University, Magdeburg) and our first sale to the United Kingdom (to the University of Liverpool). All of these sales have been for Meaglow’s popular Series 50 Plasma Source, which is used by many of our customers to upgrade from ICP to hollow cathode plasma operation.

Contact us at to learn more about the benefits of Meaglow’s plasma technology.

ALD/CVD Precursors Market Reaches $1.3B by 2023

SAN DIEGO, July 6, 2018 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- TECHCET—the advisory services firm providing electronic materials information— announced that strong growth in IC fabrication demand for atomic-layer deposition (ALD), chemical-vapor deposition (CVD), and spin-on dielectric (SOD) precursors should result in a combined global market size of US$1.3 billion by the year 2023. Specifically, metal precursors are expected to see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2 percent through 2023 starting from $460 million in revenues for this year, as detailed in the latest TECHCET Critical Materials Report (CMR). The market for dielectric materials is forecasted to be $465 million this year with CAGR of 8.2 percent through 2023, as detailed in the latest CMR. 

"Plasma enhanced CVD and ALD processes drive increasing demand for silicon precursors, used in depositing the 32-72 layers of 3D-NAND chips and in self-aligned multiple patterning for advanced logic and memory chips," explained Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, TECHCET senior analyst and author of the report. "We see a need for more advanced ALD/CVD precursor production in China, to support more leading-edge logic and memory fabs ramping production there."

Cobalt (Co) metal is being used to encapsulate copper on-chip multi-level interconnects in the most advanced logic fabs for both foundries and IDMs. Intel is using full cobalt interconnects to replace some of the copper levels in it's newest logic chips. The conservative demand forecast for cobalt metal in the form of ALD/CVD precursors for logic IC fabs is $25 million in 2018, with considerable growth to $70 million by 2023.

Due to the competitive demand for cobalt needed for the lithium batteries used in EVs, and due to conflict issues in the supply-chain, cobalt metal pricing is volatile and reliable forecasting is correspondingly difficult. To anticipate supply:demand imbalances, TECHCET tracks ALD and CVD precursor demands in competing high volume manufacturing (HVM) industries such as flat-panel display, photovoltaics, MEMS, and LED.

Suppliers covered in this report include: Adeka, Air Liquide, Azmax part of Azuma group, BASF, DNF "Dream New Future", Dow Corning, Digital Specialty Chemicals (DSC), DowDuPont, Entegris, Epivalence, FujiFilm, Gelest, H.C. Starck, Kojundo Chemical Laboratory, Merck's EMD Performance Materials, Nanmat Technology, Norquay Technology, Nova-Kem, Nanogen Solutions, Pegasus Chemicals, Praxair, Soulbrain, STREM, TCI Chemicals, Tri Chemical Laboratories, Umicore, UP Chemical, Versum Materials.

Purchase Reports Here:

ABOUT TECHCET: TECHCET CA LLC is an advisory service firm focused on process materials supply-chains, electronic materials technology, and materials market analysis for the semiconductor, display, solar/PV, and LED industries. Since 2000, the company has been responsible for producing the SEMATECH Critical Material Reports, covering silicon wafers, semiconductor gases, wet chemicals, CMP consumables, Photoresists, and ALD/CVD Precursors. For additional information about these reports or CMC Fabs membership please contact Diane Scott at +1-480-332-8336, or go to or

Media Contact: Lita Shon-Roy, TECHCET CA LLC, 1-480-382-8336,

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach:

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

ASM launch ALD Pulsar and PEALD Emerald on XP8 multi-chamber platform

New System Integrates Core Pulsar® and EmerALD® Capabilities with Higher Productivity, Enabled by Multi-Chamber 300mm XP8 Platform

SAN FRANCISCO, California - ASM International N.V. (Euronext Amsterdam: ASM) today announced the Synergis®atomic layer deposition (ALD) tool for advanced-node logic and memory high-volume production applications. The latest addition to ASM's industry-leading line of ALD tools, Synergis leverages ASM's core ALD hardware and process technology, optimized over more than a decade in volume manufacturing, to address a wide range of thermal ALD applications.

Demand for ALD solutions is growing, as it enables the use of new materials and designs for advanced chip manufacturing. The new Synergis system is designed to address a number of key ALD equipment challenges, by providing superior thermal control of the reactor environment, delivery of low-vapor-pressure precursors, purge efficiency and reduced preventive-maintenance cycles. As a result, Synergis delivers excellent conformality and film uniformity with high throughput and low per-wafer cost.

Veeco Firebird(TM) - Batch Thermal ALD for High Volume Production

Earlier this year Veeco launched their new platform for Batch ALD for high volume production and now you can find more details on the Veeco product offering pages: LINK

Firebird - Batch ALD for High Volume Production

The Firebird™ system is a fully automated batch production ALD platform delivering superb uniformity with best-in-class throughput at the lowest possible cost-per-wafer. Integrating proven Veeco automation solutions, it enables safe wafer handling via low-impact batch transfer. Its modular pre-heat & cool-down design enables a flexible thermal management solution tailored around your specifications. The Firebird™ system’s high capacity reactor(s), low consumables/maintenance costs and compact footprint deliver the most cost-effective solution while exceeding your throughput requirements.

Firebird™ - ALD System for Specialized Wafer Production 

Key features include:

  • Ideal for oxide films, including encapsulation & barrier layers, optical coating
  • Best-in-class throughput (up to 40,000 wafers per month)
  • Proven Veeco automation
  • Safe wafer handling for fragile / temperature sensitive substrates (e.g., LNO / LTO / glass)
  • Modular thermal management for optimal process flexibility and throughput
  • Worldwide sales, service and support

Configurability advantage

The modular system configuration can be effectively tailored to minimize process flow bottlenecks and offers outstanding processing flexibility.

 2 reactors, 1 heat-up module

1 reactor, 2 heat-up modules

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Beneq present how to minimize circuit board maintenance with ALD

ALD for moisture protection

Wherever we have electronics, we have circuit boards (CB). The ever-increasing demand for higher performance of electronics in more demanding environmental conditions is pushing the limits of current circuit board packaging technologies’ performance. If the circuit boards are designed and assembled well, they should endure in the environment they are intended to work in. However, in new challenging environments, CBs may need maintenance more often than would be desirable. Usually moisture and temperature are the greatest threats to circuit boards and they accelerate failure generation.

Electrochemical migration (ECM) is one nasty phenomenon in circuit assemblies. What it needs to be manifested is moisture, electrical current and conductive residues. When an electronic product is in use, there is obviously current available for the ECM to happen. To effectively prevent ECM, one needs to either eliminate moisture or the residues.

Full article: Beneq Blog (LINK)