The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Applied’s next-gen implanter; end of an era for IBM; SEMI’s forecast; Advantest’s ATE system.

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Looking to address a new wave of chip architectures in the marketplace, Applied Materials has rolled out its next-generation, medium-current ion implanter.

The system, dubbed the VIISta 900 3D, is geared for the production of finFETs and 3D NAND designs at the sub-2xnm nodes. Typically, medium-current implanters have a maximum energy range of about 900keV (triple-charge), with dose ranges from E11 to E14.

Medium-current implanters are designed for various applications, such as halo, well isolation and other implants. In planar designs, there are only a few steps that require compound angle implants. One of the few exceptions to the rule is the halo implants.

In 3D-like devices, however, there are more requirements for compound angle implants with greater precision. “As customers migrate toward 3D devices, whether we are talking about finFET structures in the logic area or 3D memory, there are some new challenges that are coming into play relative to implant,” said Dennis Rodier, global product manager at Applied Materials. “Some of the implants require a higher degree of precision, especially with respect to angle control and accuracy. The other thing we’re seeing is that defect performance is becoming much more critical.”

Next-generation, medium-current implanters must also address other requirements. “From an implant perspective, you might end up with multiple threshold voltages that are required on a single chip. You might have a low Vt, mid Vt and high Vt. You might have several Vt tuning steps that need to be fine tuned. That’s typically done with a low dose medium-current implanter,” Rodier said.

To address those needs, Applied has devised a new medium-current system. The VIISta 900 3D system offers an enhanced beam shape and angle control, based on three new elements—a so-called Quadrupole Lens, corrector magnet and beam shape metrology. All told, the system improves the angle control by 2X and has a 40% better dose uniformity.

Another feature is what Applied calls SuperScan 3 technology. This utilizes the tool’s beam shape control to support customized wafer dose patterning. “This is for custom dose patterning. With the SuperScan capability, we can enable up to seven customized dose ratios. We are also able to tune the beam shape or size,” he said. “This is also addressing other process variations in the fab. It could be etch or thin-film thermal process variations.”

The system also consists of a hot implant technology and a triple magnet architecture, which boosts yield by minimizing defects. Triple-magnet architecture delivers a clean beam line, removing beam-borne metals, particles, cross-species, and contamination well before the beam reaches the wafer. Complementing its capabilities for finFET and 3D NAND device fabrication, the VIISta 900 3D tool is also an optimal solution for doping the photodiode and logic layers of CMOS image sensors.

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IBM’s possible exit from the IC business would mark the end of an era, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal. As reported, GlobalFoundries is in talks to buy IBM’s chip unit.

In a research note, SEMI analysts Christian Gregor Dieseldorff and Clark Tseng, said: “With the strong growth in the mobile market and their ever increasing functionality, the driver for leading edge semiconductor devices is to reduce power consumption without comprising performance. The cost per wafer has become an increasing concern below the 32nm node. The expected cost reduction benefit of production at smaller nodes is diminishing and is not keeping pace with the scaling benefits in many cases. This has widespread and fundamental implications for an industry long following the cadences of Moore’s Law.”

2014, according to SEMI, is off to a positive start. The WSTS/SIA reports strong IC unit shipment growth through April.

Advantest has launched its new PVI8 floating power source, which extends the capabilities of its V93000 test platform for high-voltage and high-current testing of embedded power devices.

For the 12th consecutive year, Lam Research has awarded scholarships to graduating high school seniors. Nine $10,000 scholarships went to various students.

EZchip Semiconductor has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Tilera, a privately-held company that develops high-performance multi-core processors.