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New Product: Intevac‚??s novel ‚??Lean Etch‚?? platform posts 200wph productivity

24 August 2007 | By Mark Osborne | Product Briefings >

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IntevacProduct Briefing Outline: Intevac has entered the semiconductor etch equipment market with its ground-up new ‘Lean Etch' high-volume dielectric etch platform. The new tool is claimed to be the first ever wafer processing system designed and built using ‘lean principles'. The Lean Etch system uses a novel parallel architecture utilizes two sets of twin linear robots to replace the large, central handler common to all cluster tools. This gives the system a minimal mainframe footprint and maximizes fab space efficiency, according to the company. The linear platform is intended to eliminate dependency on a single, central robot and offers improved uptime through availability redundancy. The high-speed transport system yields throughputs as high as 200wph, according to the company.

Problem: Cluster tools, especially within the etch market have hardly changed platform configuration, which now makes them wasteful of space within a fab. They are prone to throughput bottlenecks, must be shut down completely during maintenance routines and can be hard to service because of poor access to the process chambers and wafer handling platform. Addressing such issues while offering leading-edge process performance for high-volume low-cost IC manufacturers, is a key problem needing to be addressed as part of the 300mmPrime program and other productivity enhancement efforts.  

Solution: The Lean Etch system incorporates a simple dual module mainframe concept that uses twin linear robots to replace large, central handlers. This gives the system a minimal mainframe footprint and maximizes fab space efficiency. The linear platform eliminates dependency on a single, central robot and offers maximum uptime through availability redundancy. It has advanced plasma parameter control and is extendible to silicon and metal etch processes. The combination of a unique T-source design with ‘Instant-On' technology and pulsing capability enables improved etch process control, a large process window, higher etch rates, a continuous vertical profile and high PR selectivity that extends beyond the 45nm technology node. The company claims that results have shown vertical profiles with a high (>20:1) aspect ratio with clean, smooth sidewalls and no bowing. Lean Etch technology features a soft in-situ chamber clean for extended service intervals.

Applications: Dielectric etch at the 45nm node and beyond.

Platform: Lean Etch mainframe is modular and can be easily configured to accommodate additional process modules to match fab output requirements. The design allows for both single sided (3 chamber) and dual sided configurations (6 chamber) for higher availability and ultra-high productivity. The system's compact footprint and high throughput effectively optimizes clean room space and significantly reduces total cost of ownership, according to the company. The Lean Etch mainframe features a wide, central service aisle and this significantly eases serviceability by providing 360° access to the mainframe and chamber backside. Key controls and power distribution are located onboard thereby improving ease of installation and serviceability. The system also has visible interlocks and I/O status for ease of troubleshooting.

Availability: July 2007 onwards.


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