EVG tool bonds 450mm SOI semiconductor wafers

July 11, 2011 – PRNewswire — EV Group (EVG), MEMS, nanotechnology and semiconductor manufacturing tool supplier, released a wafer bonding system for 450mm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers: EVG850SOI/450-mm. The automated tool runs at production line speed and comprises a cleaning module and pre-bonding module.

The EVG850SOI/450-mm cleaning module cleans and pre-conditions wafers before wafer bonding. In the pre-bonding module, the two silicon wafers are joined together either in a vacuum or in an atmospheric chamber. 450mm load ports and front opening unified pods (FOUPs) complete the tool.

Most of the particle and metal ion contamination tests will be performed on 300mm wafers due to the lack of 450mm metrology systems.

SOI wafer provider Soitec will install, test and qualify the first EVG850SOI/450-mm system at its Grenoble, France, headquarters in Fall 2011. Soitec’s Smart Cut layer transfer technology is "one of the most important SOI fabrication processes based on wafer bonding," said Paul Lindner, EV Group Executive Technology Director.

Tool development was done in cooperation with the European Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Initiative. In this interview, Lindner discusses the challenges of designing for 450mm as well as SOI: cleanliness issues and the impact of the much larger mechanical components that come into contact with the wafers.

"The bonding step acts like a magnifying glass for particles, so anything trapped at the bond interface is a problem and needs to be eliminated," explained Linder. "So in the tool, particle control is the biggest challenge for SOI wafers."

EVG points out that SOI will enable better power/performance for sub-22nm node CMOS and 3DICs compared to similar-geometry bulk CMOS. Wafer bonding allows chip makers to acheive high-quality, single-crystal Si films on one insulating layer, making a SOI substrate. Though SOI has not yet been adopted by all the major players, EVG’s customers say that they expect that sometime below 22nm, or maybe even at 16nm, the use of an engineered substrate (not necessarily SOI) will be much more attractive. Looking ahead to the insertion point for EVG’s first 450mm wafer bonding system, Linder’s forecast — probably at 16nm — occurs about the time when engineered substrates (whether SOI, or GOI, or some other layer-transferred substrate) become more heavily adopted is as follows: 1) installation of the first tool in 2011, 2) obtain the first bonded wafers in 2011, 3) enter pilot line production by 2014, and 4) achieve production at end users by 2016.  

The tool can be used to fab 300mm wafers as facilities transition from 300 to 450mm.

The tool is EVG’s first for 450mm wafers, and will serve as a blueprint for future systems, both for wafer bonding and lithography, EVG reports. An extension of the system with additional modules is planned as a further step to increase wafer throughput.

Learn more about the new tool at SEMICON West booth 1131 this week, Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA.

EVG’s Paul Lindner will be part of the MCA’s BrightSpots Forum on 450mm, Monday at 6:00PM during SEMICON West. To register for online access to the live panel event, click here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/378232715.

EV Group (EVG) makes wafer-processing solutions for semiconductor, MEMS and nanotechnology applications. More information is available at www.EVGroup.com.

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