Product Briefing Outline: Applied Materials has introduced the Applied ‘Vantage Vulcan’ rapid thermal processing (RTP) system. The system is claimed to supersede current RTP technology to bring a new level of precision and control to the anneal process, enabling chipmakers to reduce variability and boost production yields of their most highly-valued, highest-performing devices.
Problem: For manufacturers to achieve the highest chip yields, transistors with the same design should perform identically in all areas of the wafer. This is becoming a major challenge at the 20nm era and below, since transistors are smaller and more sensitive to temperature variations while many logic chips are also larger in size, making uniformity across the die increasingly difficult. Direct radiant heating can cause variations in temperature, or ‘hot spots,’ on a patterned wafer - leading to significant variations in the electrical performance of the transistors - and resulting in many low-end chips on the wafer.
Solution: Applied's Vantage Vulcan system overcomes these yield-limiting temperature variations by applying heat to the unpatterned backside of the wafer to deliver what the company claims is an unprecedented level of temperature uniformity. Using the company's proven honeycomb lamp array, the system can control within-die temperature to less than 3°C - even while the wafer temperature is aggressively ramping at more than 200°C per second. In addition to being the first RTP system to heat the wafer entirely from the backside, the Vantage Vulcan system's closed-loop control can dynamically control wafer temperature as it ramps from almost room temperature to 1,300°C. This new capability enables any device wafer, including wafers with challenging reflective surfaces, to be processed without recipe modification - a critical benefit for the high-mix, fast-changing environment of foundries - while also simplifying the integration of new materials and new transistor architectures.
Applications: Implant, Ti/Co/Ni salicide, and other anneals; dry rapid thermal oxidation.
Platform: Applied Materials has launched the Vantage RTP platform in 2002. Subsequent versions have seen over 500 systems shipped to customers worldwide.
Availability: June 2011 onwards.