October 27, 2006 – SEMATECH’s R&D wafer fab subsidiary, Advanced Technology Development Facility Inc. (ATDF), and consumables supplier SemiQuest, Fremont, CA, have created a new chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) pad system that helps preserve fragile, ultralow-k (k as low as 2.2) materials on semiconductor wafers.
The CMP product, called “eSQ Planarizer,” was proven on ATDF’s 300mm CMP toolset to eliminate edge die variation effects and significantly improved the ability to apply uniform low pressure to a wafer, reducing erosion and dielectric loss. In a statement, SemiQuest CEO Rajeev Bajaj explained that eSQ allows planarizing contact at the die level, enabling precise control that meets interconnect design tolerance for dishing and erosion for 45nm process manufacturing. The system’s 3D design helps eliminate “edge effect” caused by pressure discontinuity, obtaining uniform polishing to within 2mm of the wafer edge.
“The design of the eSQ Planarizer also offers a longer life and potentially lower slurry usage, thus reducing the cost of consumables by more than 50%, while enabling superior process performance,” Bajaj noted, adding that the system is available for both 200mm and 300mm wafer polishers.
SemiQuest was founded in January 2005 and is closing its first round of financing, with which it plans to bolster development efforts and establish a pilot plant for the eSQ Planarizer. The company says its tool is being evaluated by “several leading IC manufacturers and R&D consortia” for use in shallow trench isolation and Cu applications.