VOTE! Participate in the Sixth Annual Attendee’s Choice Awards

For the sixth time, Solid State Technology, in cooperation with Advanced Packaging magazine, is inviting SEMICON West attendees to VOTE on products they see at the trade show, which takes place at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center from July 15 to 17. There will be two separate competitions: one for the “Wafer Processing” products in Moscone’s North, South, and Gateway halls, and one for the “Final Manufacturing” products to be located in Moscone’s West hall.

Product descriptions for this year’s Attendees’ Choice Awards candidates read like a how-to guide for being a model of frugality. Whether it’s improving yield, reducing emissions, achieving lower CoO, or smaller footprints it’s clear the mantra for the industry is doing more with less. Heeding the clarion call for modest consumption, one of the forums at SEMICON West will focus on ways to breathe life into old fabs by taking advantage of existing productivity opportunities in both 200mm and 300mm fabs. While many of the ACA-featured products will undoubtedly find their way into legacy fabs, many also address the more stringent requirements for advanced technology nodes and will be headed for product lines currently under development.

Aside from the obvious link between front-end and final manufacturing, i.e., 3D integration, suppliers at both ends of the spectrum are offering products that serve the emerging printed/flexible electronics and PV/solar sectors. And while bright lights of innovation still shine on front end manufacturing, it is interesting to note that this year, three-quarters of the products entered for ACA consideration are in the final manufacturing space.

A number of industry experts have alluded to the potential for 3D integration to enable a generational leap forward in performance and power with a modest capital investment. But 3D integration also has the power to keep the industry on its long-term productivity curve, achieving both high performance and functionality. Mobile electronics is a driver of the move to three dimensions and a key theme at SEMICON West this year as deposition and etch equipment suppliers step up to the challenges device manufacturers face when designing more compact consumer electronics. Equipment that supports 3D-IC technologies is also being featured for MEMS and packaging, further blurring the lines between front-end and final manufacturing.

Evidence of final manufacturing products treading deeper into the provenance of the wafer fab is the plethora of WLCSP, PoP, and TSV enabling solutions submitted for consideration for this year’s ACA program. Along with 3-D integration schemes comes the challenge of using ultra-thin wafers; meeting that need are several clean and surface treatment products being unveiled at the show.

Wafer Processing

Photovoltaic panel scribing system
The SolarScribe automation series photovoltaic panel scribing system includes both mechanical and air-bearing versions of split-axis and gantry-style systems for maximum application flexibility. The system includes options such as multi-head scan axes, Z and theta correction axes, and machine base/isolation systems. The SolarScribe is coupled to company’s Automation 3200 control system, which is totally digital and contains high-performance FireWire networked drives. Aerotech, Pittsburgh, PA USA; 412-963-7470,

200/300mm cluster system
The Versalis fxP is a single-wafer 200/300mm cluster system that integrates multiple processes (including etch, PVD, and CVD) on one platform. Targeted for advanced research and development (R&D) activities for 3D-IC devices, Versalis fxP offers a route for customers to develop their Through Silicon Via (TSV) technology and easily migrate their processes for high-volume production. Using the Versalis fxP, users can link separate processes without breaking vacuum to discover potential performance benefits, and then apply those findings to optimally configure production systems. Aviza Technology Inc., Scotts Valley, CA USA; ph 831/439-6382,

Bridge modules
The BKK and BKR Bridge modules span long unsupported lengths and are fully enclosed to protect internal components from environmental contamination. The BKR belt-driven version is available in lengths up to 8,000mm, and the ball screw-driven BKK version offers higher thrust forces and lengths up to 5,500mm. Bridge Modules feature an extruded aluminum profile whose geometry has been optimized for extremely high torsional stiffness. Inside, two internal ball rail systems are mounted at a 90° angle to each other to maximize load and moment capacity. The Bridge Modules are suitable for applications where the module is not fully supported, such as the Y-axis in a gantry system. Bosch Rexroth, Hoffman Estates, IL USA; ph 847/645-3600;

Equipment control software
CIMControlFramework is an equipment control software framework based on the latest Microsoft .NET technologies. It allows OEMs to meet the supervisory control, material handling, platform and process control, and factory automation requirements of the fabs. Equipment suppliers can leverage the framework features, configure or extend the framework, and integrate their own process control technology. CIMControlFramework is supported and maintained with upgrades, improvements, and performance enhancements. With a data-driven architecture at the core of the framework, data generated at any point on the tool can be quickly and easily accessed by any other module. Cimetrix Inc., Salt Lake City, UT USA; ph 801/256-6500,

Vacuum pump
The iXH harsh process vacuum pump meets the increased process pump demands at the 60nm and smaller semiconductor design nodes, while also reducing tool cost of ownership (CoO). It offers a smaller footprint than previous generations and features a modular design. It is optimized to handle hydrogen and other light gases and to better withstand the corrosive effects of ammonia. ALD processes, generally deposit <10% of the precursor on the wafer, dramatically increasing the potential for deposition in the pumps. The iXH addresses this with improved thermal control and increased torque. Larger exhaust stages and an inlet purge also make it suitable for extreme powder processes with TEOS flows above 5g/min. The iXH reduces tool CO2 emissions by up to 42%, with a reduced utility CoO of >10%, compared to previous-generation Edwards pumps. Edwards Vacuum, Crawley, West Sussex, UK; ph 44 (0) 8459 212223,

20nm high-flow liquid filters
The Torrento family of high-flow liquid filters helps to improve liquid contamination control of nano-scale particles in wet etch and clean (WEC) manufacturing processes used in advanced semiconductor applications. Built on a combination of new membrane technology and an advanced ATE device construction, the Torrento filters provide high-yield, rapid bath cleanup cycles, and extended filter life, and allow for fast changeouts and increase cleanliness. Torrento filters also feature Entegris’ industry-standard, non-de-wetting surface technology for use in a high-flow recirculated bath with aggressive aqueous chemistries. The capability to maintain flow rate at an extremely small pore size in outgassing chemistries such as SPM, SC1, and SC2, ensures the stable processing conditions needed for the high CpK results demanded at advanced technology nodes. The product is designed to help fabrication facilities improve yields while maintaining the lowest cost of ownership without sacrificing contamination control.
Entegris Inc., Chaska, MN USA; ph 952/556-3131,

Spray coating system
The EVG150 NanoSpray is a fully automated high topography spray coating system. The system uses a spray process based on a spray mist created by ultrasonic nozzles and supports wafers up to 300mm in diameter. The system is designed to conformally coat vertical via walls 300µm deep and 100µm in diameter. The system is also capable of deposition organic low-k materials. EV Group (EVG), St.Florian/Inn, Austria; ph 43 7712 5311 0,

Thin-film analysis tool
The Auto SE thin-film analysis tool allows characterization of single and multi-layer thin films in one push of a button. Within a second, the Auto SE is said to provide accurate film thicknesses and optical constants over the Visible-NIR spectral range. The tool automatically adjusts the height of your sample, maps the entire surface of your wafer for uniformity check, and displays the results. With a spot size as small as 25µm


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