XACTIX, STS unveil line of xenon difluoride silicon etch systems

July 20, 2006 – XACTIX Inc. and Surface Technology Systems PLC announced a comprehensive line of production-oriented release etching tools for MEMS.

The tools produced under this collaboration use xenon difluoride gas to perform a highly selective isotropic etch into bulk silicon or to remove sacrificial layers.

The two companies say that over the last three years they have been collaborating in manufacturing and marketing equipment which uses xenon difluoride gas to isotropically etch bulk silicon or remove sacrificial layers made from silicon, molybdenum or germanium. They said the collaboration sprang from a realization that there is a wide diversity of requirements for release etching and the two companies had complementary capabilities to address these requirements effectively.

The products include a xenon difluoride etching module for the STS platform. This module can be combined with any of the STS wafer handling options and combined with any other STS module in a cluster format; the Xetch X3M etcher for simultaneously etching batches of wafers or other wafer size flat substrates in the wafer boat; and, the Xetch XT etcher for etching larger substrates or large batches of non wafer substrates.

The companies say all of the systems have been shipped to customers. An updated version of the CVE module is slated to be available for shipment at the end of 2006 and is currently ready for customer samples.

Isotropic etching using xenon difluoride gas is rapidly becoming a key MEMS process technology and is being adopted by both large and small companies looking to increase yield, lower costs or increase device performance.


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