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New Product: Edwards‚?? iXH vacuum pump series handles sub-60nm harsh process environments

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EdwardsProduct Briefing Outline: Edwards has introduced the new iXH series of vacuum pumps, used for harsh process environments. Designed to meet the increasing demands of the emerging processes required for semiconductor manufacturing at 60nm and smaller design rules, the iXH is designed to help reduce tool cost-of-ownership (CoO) with a smaller footprint than previous generations, and also features a modular design that enables a quicker response to emerging process requirements. 

Problem: Along with the drive for higher productivity, new semiconductor manufacturing processes, such as atomic layer deposition (ALD), and compound semiconductor processes, such as gallium nitride, are creating new challenges for vacuum pump technology in terms of powder handling, hydrogen flow, fluorine plasma cleans, ammonia flows and precursor reactions.

Solution: The iXH has been specifically designed to meet these challenges with enhanced purge flow, temperature-controlled operating range, light gas performance and corrosive gas resistance. Its extended capabilities also offer improved CoO by lengthening pump life and helping to deliver lower utility costs. Unlike earlier process technologies that deposited up to 90 percent of the precursor on the wafer, ALD processes, such as high-k dielectrics, generally deposit less than 10 percent, dramatically increasing the potential for deposition in the pumps. To manage these challenging conditions, the iXH features improved thermal control and increased torque. It is also ideal for extreme powder processes with TEOS flows above 5 g/min, featuring larger exhaust stages and the innovative ‘Gas Buster’ inlet purge to deal with the process byproducts and minimize system maintenance. Other advanced processes, such as gallium nitride compound semiconductor production, require large flows of hydrogen and ammonia. Because of the small size of the hydrogen molecule it is difficult to pump, while ammonia is highly corrosive. The iXH pump mechanism has been optimized to handle hydrogen and to better withstand the corrosive effects of ammonia by using patented technology.

Applications: 60nm and smaller feature sizes, requiring improved process control and lower CoO. ALD, high-k, TEOS and III-V processes.

Platform: The improved powder handling and corrosion resistance of the new iXH pump also helps to reduce pump CoO by extending the maintenance interval. At the same time, the pump’s Active Utility Control (AUC), which includes an idle mode for periods when the pump is not in use, can reduce utility costs by more than 10 percent compared to the previous generation of Edwards harsh process pumps.

Availability: April 2008 onwards.


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