Category Archives: Wet Processing


Kinetic Solutions, Inc., a full-service process and mechanical contractor for high-technology markets worldwide, announced today the acquisition of Mega Fluid Systems, a global supplier of chemical and slurry delivery equipment to the global semiconductor, LED, pharmaceutical, specialty chemicals and solar/PV industries. According to the details of the agreement, Mega Fluid Systems will operate as a Kinetics company, but will maintain its brand and product line. The acquisition marks another strategic decision in the latest string of investments to strengthen the Kinetics global footprint and position it as a leader in critical process facilities systems services, advanced process equipment and facility management solutions.

Kinetics, now in its 45th year, and Mega share a long legacy, as Mega was originally spun out of Kinetics in 2004. The reacquisition brings the story full circle, and allows Kinetics to offer a comprehensive range of equipment solutions that cover the scope of service and provide global turnkey solutions from feasibility studies through design, construction, construction management, commissioning and closeout.

“We are excited to welcome Mega Fluid Systems home to the Kinetics family,” said Peter Maris, president and CEO of Kinetics. “Adding the Mega portfolio of chemical and slurry delivery systems not only extends our process tool offering, it broadens our global reach and allows us to better serve our customers from R&D to volume manufacturing. Together, with the addition of Wafab and Mega, we are now operating from 20 offices with 1,800 employees worldwide.”

The Mega Fluid Systems product line includes leading-edge chemical, slurry and slurry-blend delivery systems, as well the supporting slurry filtration, metrology and world-class control and SCADA systems.

“As an independent brand for over 20 years, Mega established itself as a trusted supplier of high-performance blend and delivery systems, and built our reputation on innovation and ingenuity,” said Delton Hyatt, president, Mega Fluid Systems. “We are proud to bring that reputation home and be reunited with Kinetics. Together, we are a powerhouse of innovative process and mechanical solutions.”

“The Mega product line is a welcome addition to our existing portfolio of legacy process media distribution systems,” said Steve McGuigan, executive VP and general manager of Kinetics Equipment Solutions Group. “Combined with our chemical process systems and other offerings of facility management and high-purity installation capabilities, this strengthens Kinetics’ ability to serve our customers’ needs globally.”

INFICON,a manufacturer of leak test equipment, introduced the UL3000 Fab leak detector for semiconductor manufacturing maintenance teams to easily check the tightness of vacuum chambers for wafer production. Special advantages of the new leak detector are its fast readiness and unrivaled simplicity enabling the operator to find leaks of all sizes with the same procedures. It also has a slim mobile design for easy maneuverability and an intuitive operating concept for easy operation. The UL3000 Fab, which uses helium as a test gas, detects even the smallest leakage rates up to 5 x 10-12 atm cc/, thus providing the highest seal confirmation tightness of vacuum chambers for wafer production.

Daniel Hoffman, Sales and Service Manager for Leak Detection in the Americas, sees the new model as a big step forward. “Constantly innovating and optimizing our products to meet customer needs is a core goal for INFICON. With our new UL3000 Fab we will enable leak detection productivity gains never before seen in the semiconductor leak testing process,” said Hoffman.

The powerful, compact and smart leak detector enables testing at atmospheric pressure (through MASSIVE leak function) with best in class time to test or background generation, saturation protection, smart power and PM saving control all in a compact package. With its narrow design (only 18.6 inches wide), the mobile leak detector is designed for high maneuverability. Also, UL3000 Fab features robust construction, a deep center of gravity and large tires to ensure optimum mobility.


OEM Group announced today a Post-Dice Clean solution on the proven Cintillio™ Batch Spray platform following plasma and laser dicing methods. Designed specifically to remove residue and particles left behind from these dicing methods, OEM Group’s Cintillio™ SST (Spray Solvent Tool) and Cintillio™ Eco-Clean systems utilize their patented Enhanced Spray Technology (EST) to deliver process improvement through uniform media flow with a nozzle-per-wafer concept ensuring uniform flow and increased rinse efficiency.

After wafers are singulated prior to “pick and place,” the conventional method of cleaning is by water rinsing; however, some singulation methods, particularly plasma and laser, may leave behind residues that water cannot clean. Slag, polymers, and other residues impede device performance and may cause corrosion or affect downstream processes. The Cintillio™ post-dice clean process successfully removes these residues to maintain final device performance. Chris Forgey, CTO for OEM Group says, “We’re pleased to leverage our patented Ozone process specifically for post dice clean applications, delivering value and superior process capability for this specific application.”

Along with the patented Enhanced Spray Technology (EST), both platforms adapt wafer carriers and rotors to hold multiple “diced wafer-on-tape-on-frame” substrates, delivering greater throughput, reduced chemical utilization, space efficient footprint, and excellent overall performance. According to OEM Group Applications Lab Manager, Joshua Levinson, Ph.D., “Any device manufacturer who performs back-end processing of wafers and who employs wafer singulation to create diced substrates will benefit from our solutions. Batch processing also reduces the number of cleaning tools required in a fab and lowers overall cost of ownership, waste generation, and DI water usage.”

With global headquarters in metro Phoenix, Arizona and additional sites throughout the North America, Europe, Japan and Asia, OEM Group, LLC is a semiconductor capital equipment manufacturer and innovator in new and remanufactured 75mm–200mm tools and services.

ClassOne Technology (, manufacturer of cost-efficient wet processing equipment for ≤200mm substrates, announced a new company-wide initiative to reduce costs of operation (CoO) in copper plating processes.

“From the beginning, our mission has been to bring more advanced and lower priced plating capabilities to all the emerging markets who work with smaller wafers,” said ClassOne Technology President, Kevin Witt. “Our Solstice systems are already the industry’s most affordable tools for ≤200mm plating. Now we want to enable economies on the cost of ownership side, as well — perhaps reducing those expenses by as much as 25 to 30%. And that’s our goal in this initiative.”

The company explained that it sees potential for shrinking Cu plating CoO by reducing chemical consumption, extending the life of consumables and equipment parts, increasing and optimizing throughput, and enhancing chamber performance, among other areas. Company representatives stated that they are working toward innovative ways to increase efficiencies, minimize waste, streamline operation and optimize performance in each of the copper plating processes.

“Copper plating is an extremely hot area of interest right now in a great many emerging markets,” said Witt. “That’s why ClassOne focuses serious attention on it. We want to continue to be the go-to guys for absolutely everything having to do with copper plating on smaller wafers.”

“And that’s why you’ll be seeing more new copper-related announcements coming from ClassOne in the coming weeks and months,” he added.

ClassOne Technology offers a selection of new wet processing tools specifically designed for users of 75mm to 200mm wafers. These include three different models of Solstice electroplating systems for production and development as well as the Trident families of Spin-Rinse-Dryers and Spray Solvent Tools. All are priced at less than half of what similarly configured systems from the larger manufacturers would cost — which is why the ClassOne lines are often described as delivering “Advanced Wet Processing for the Rest of Us.”

ClassOne Technology (, manufacturer of advanced wet processing equipment for ≤200mm substrates, announced the formation of a Board of Advisors. This body will be made up of highly-regarded senior executives from the semiconductor industry who will provide their perspective and guidance to ClassOne as it navigates the expansion of its operations. Three distinguished industry notables, Larry Murphy, Eric Choh and Tom Pilla have been named to the board.

“ClassOne is experiencing very rapid growth right now, and we wanted to incorporate the broad perspective and deep experience that these gentlemen can bring to our effort,” said Kevin Witt, President of ClassOne Technology. “Larry, Eric and Tom are long-respected leaders in this industry and have already proven to be a huge asset. We are fortunate and honored to have them on our team.”

“We are delighted to add our support and endorsement to ClassOne,” said Larry Murphy. “We’ve seen the customer focus and innovative technology that this company is bringing to the industry. ClassOne is disrupting the old status quo and delivering much-needed high-performance electroplating and wet process equipment to the smaller-substrate markets — markets that have been generally underserved.”

Larry Murphy is presently CEO at PROOF Research. Previously, he had been CEO at Thompson Technology Group, VP and GM of North America & Europe SSG Sales at Applied Materials, and VP and GM of the Semitool Business at Applied Materials. Earlier, he had served as President and COO at Semitool for six years, and before that, as President and CEO at Tosoh SMD for more than 14 years.

Eric Choh has spent more than 30 years in the semiconductor industry with extensive experience in wafer fab operations and advanced technology development. Most recently he was the VP/GM of GLOBALFOUNDRYS’ Fab 8. Mr. Choh had also held a number of senior positions at AMD, including VP of Advanced Process Development and Executive Managing Director of the AMD/UMC Alliance.

Tom Pilla now holds the position of Global Supply Chain Director and Electronic Materials/Business Manufacturing Director of Litho Materials at Dow Chemical. Previously, he served as VP of Operations at Rohm and Haas Electronic Materials, VP of Operations at Rodel, and Global Supply Chain Director at Rohm and Haas.

ClassOne Technology offers a range of cost-efficient wet-processing tools specifically for emerging markets and other users of 3″ to 8″ wafers. The company’s mission is to provide advanced technology equipment at more affordable prices — to address the budget constraints that smaller-substrate markets typically have and fill a niche that larger equipment manufacturers historically have not addressed.

ClassOne’s current product line-up includes the Solstice family of high-performance, multi-purpose electroplating tools and the Trident families of Spin Rinse Driers and Spray Solvent Tools. All are specifically designed for processing ≤200mm wafers. Solstice systems are available both for development and production and are priced at less than half of what similarly configured plating systems from the larger manufacturers would cost. This is why Solstice is often described as delivering “Advanced Plating for the Rest of Us.” ClassOne supports customers with world-class process development, deployment and service around the globe.

Samco, a Japan-based semiconductor processing equipment manufacturer, held a completion ceremony for its second production center on June 17. The new production center, which began construction in January and is expected to begin operations during the fall of this year, boosts Samco’s original shipment capacity of 6-7 billion yen per year to a total of 10-11 billion yen per year.

“We expect to see an increased demand for dry etching and CVD systems due to the IoT’s rapid expansion, as well as anticipated growth in the medical and robotics industries,” says Osamu Tsuji, Samco’s president, chairman and CEO. “With the completion of our newest production center, Samco is prepared to meet those demands.”

Containing a total land area of 1,260 m2, Samco’s second production center’s total floor space is 1,130 m2 (which includes a 217.61 square-meter clean room), and will mainly be used to assemble and modify processing equipment for mass production. The 600 million yen investment also included renovations for the existing production technology building.

The two-floor steel-framed building stands adjacent to Samco’s headquarters in Kyoto, which has been described as the “Silicon Valley of Japan” due to its abundance of technology-based companies and manufacturers.

“Our second production center serves as a contribution to the local economy and is recognized by Kyoto City’s program to promote the siting of companies within the city,” says Tsuji.

The new production center’s eco-friendly design utilizes LED lighting that employs the latest energy-saving technology, as well as an energy efficient air conditioner and large-scale solar panel that spans across the roof and provides a portion of the building’s electricity (max. 50kW/h). Additionally, the roof is coated with a high-insulation paint.

“At the same time, the building also observes the city’s construction regulations that aim to protect Kyoto’s place as a historical and cultural treasure,” says Tsuji.

ClassOne Technology, manufacturer of budget-friendly wet processing equipment, is reporting significant savings in the plating of gold in ≤200mm applications using its Solstice systems. The savings come from elimination of gold waste, faster and simpler processing, and innovative Solstice-enabled techniques that can substantially reduce gold usage.

“Many users have been spending millions of dollars on gold each year,” said Byron Exarcos, President of ClassOne Group. “It’s a major issue, especially in emerging markets such as lasers, LEDs, RF and MEMS which often require gold layers as thick as 3 to 35 microns. “That’s why they’re becoming keenly interested in Solstice to cut their gold spending.”

“One fundamental advantage of Solstice electroplating is its elimination of gold waste,” explained Kevin Witt, President of ClassOne Technology. “Previously used CVD and PVD methods deposited gold not just on the wafer but also on the entire chamber interior. That ‘oversprayed’ gold was difficult to remove and inefficient to reclaim — which led to a considerable net loss of gold. By contrast, Solstice deposits only on the wafer, so there’s no gold waste, and no need for cleaning or gold reclamation efforts.”

Witt pointed out that Solstice economies also come from its higher gold deposition speed. Plating at 150 to 300nm/min, it is roughly ten times faster than CVD and PVD methods. In addition, Solstice starts processing immediately, not requiring an hour or more for pump-down as vacuum-based tools do. All of this translates to additional savings, from higher throughput and more cost-efficient production.

Innovative Solstice layering technique can cut gold usage dramatically

The unique 8-chamber design of the Solstice S8 enables it to readily replace a solid gold layer with a multi-metal stack — and reduce gold usage very substantially.

For example, a feature that previously required a 5µm layer of solid gold can now be replaced with a “sandwich” of 0.25µm Au, 1µm Ni, 2.5µm Cu, another 1µm Ni, topped with 0.25µm Au — to achieve equivalent functionality while reducing gold usage by a factor of ten! And Solstice’s multi-chamber design enables it to deposit all five layers in a single cycle; so no additional process steps or time are required to gain very significant cost savings.

ClassOne noted that over a year, total gold savings can grow quite large. For example, in the case cited above, if the solid gold 5µm layer covers 50% of a 150mm wafer area, and if the fab is running 1500 wafers per week through a metal lift-off process and gold costs $1200 per troy ounce — even if all oversprayed gold were recovered, the user’s annual gold expenditure would be roughly $2,150,000. However, if the special Solstice multi-metal layering technique were used, the total metal cost (for Au, Ni and Cu combined) would be reduced to approximately $108,000. This would yield an annual savings of over $2,042,000, which would more than pay back the cost of a Solstice.

The Solstice S8 provides eight modular chamber positions that can be used for plating a wide range of metals as well as performing additional processes. Solstice tools are available in three different models for production and development, and they serve many cost-sensitive emerging markets that use 200mm and smaller wafers. The systems are priced at less than half of what similarly configured plating systems from the larger manufacturers would cost — which is why Solstice has been described as “Advanced Plating for the Rest of Us.”

Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments increased during the first quarter 2016 when compared to fourth quarter 2015 area shipments according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group (SMG) in its quarterly analysis of the silicon wafer industry.

Total silicon wafer area shipments were 2,538 million square inches during the most recent quarter, a 1.3 percent increase from the 2,504 million square inches shipped during the previous quarter. However, new quarterly total area shipments are 3.8 percent lower than first quarter 2015 shipments.

“After two quarters of negative silicon shipment volume growth, the increase in silicon volume shipments in the most recent quarter is encouraging,” said Dr. Volker Braetsch, chairman SEMI SMG and senior vice president of Siltronic AG. “It remains to be seen if silicon shipment volumes will exceed the record amount shipped last year.”

Quarterly Silicon* Area Shipment Trends

Millions of Square Inches








Shipments are for semiconductor applications only and do not include solar applications

Silicon wafers are the fundamental building material for semiconductors, which in turn, are vital components of virtually all electronics goods, including computers, telecommunications products, and consumer electronics. The highly engineered thin round disks are produced in various diameters (from one inch to 12 inches) and serve as the substrate material on which most semiconductor devices or “chips” are fabricated.

All data cited in this release is inclusive of polished silicon wafers, including virgin test wafers and epitaxial silicon wafers, as well as non-polished silicon wafers shipped by the wafer manufacturers to the end-users.

Wet Processing, including wafer cleaning, is one of the most common yet most critical processing steps in semiconductor manufacturing, since it can have a huge impact on the success of the subsequent process step. Not only does it involve the removal of organic and metal contaminants, but it must leave the surface in a desired state (hydrophilic or hydrophobic, for example), with minimal roughness and minimal surface loss – all on a growing list of different types of materials. In this webcast, experts will identify industry challenges and possible solutions, including a new concept of tailoring chemistries to dissolve very small particles rather than physically removing them.

More than 100 steps in a standard IC manufacturing process flow involve wafer cleaning or surface preparation, which include post-resist strip/ash residue removal, native oxide removal, and even selective etching. Although dry processes continue to evolve and offer unique advantages for some applications, most cleaning/surface prep processes are “wet,” involving the use of a mixture of chemicals such as hydrofluoric; hydrochloric (HCl), sulfuric or phosphoric acid; or hydrogen peroxide, along with copious amounts of deionized water for dilution and rinsing. Wafers are typically processed in a batch immersion or batch spray system or, increasingly, with a single-wafer approach. The trend is toward more dilute chemistries, aided by the use of some form of mechanical energy, such as megasonics or jet-spray processing.

An important distinction in wafer cleaning today is that the main goal is not particle removal, but some other function, such as removing native oxide or photoresist residue removal after strip/ash.

Additional Reading

Wet process technologies for scalable through silicon vias

Simple wet cleaning improvements can meet new silicon surface preparation criteria

Digital Specialty Chemicals Limited (DSC), a dual bottom line corporation and leading provider of advanced materials to the semiconductor, pharmaceutical, and specialty chemical markets, announced that it has received an equity investment from Intel Capital, Intel Corporation’s global investment organization. The investment will enhance the company’s research and development capabilities and will accelerate manufacturing capacity expansion.

DSC specializes in the manufacture of organophosphorus and organometallic chemistries used in both memory and logic thin film atomic layer deposition (ALD) manufacturing processes at leading semiconductor integrated circuit (IC) fabrication sites worldwide. The company is a leader in the manufacturing and handling of both novel specialty chemicals in large volume, high purity air- sensitive chemicals that require nitrogen and vacuum-operated vessels, using high pressure reactors and multiple distillation techniques.

“Since 1987, we have provided custom and high volume high purity chemicals to the semiconductor, pharmaceutical and specialty chemical markets worldwide. Our people, processes and facilities combine to offer the agility of a small, fine- chemical operation with the capacity of a large supplier,” said Dr. Ravi R. Gukathasan, CEO. “We believe that the continuation of Moore’s Law for semiconductor processing will depend greatly on continued innovation of advanced precursors which provides a growth opportunity for DSC. The funding from Intel Capital will help enable us to construct R&D and manufacturing facilities to meet growing demand for thin film technologies.”

“Materials innovation is critical to enabling new capabilities in semiconductor device design and manufacturing,” said Robert Bruck, corporate vice president and general manager of Global Supply Management at Intel. “We look forward to supporting DSC’s growth including development of new materials technologies for advanced semiconductor manufacturing process technology nodes.”