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New Product: Novellus extends PECVD technology to the 45nm node with higher productivity

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NovellusProduct Briefing Outline: Novellus Systems has launched the ‘VECTOR Express' that introduces major enhancements to the VECTOR plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) platform. VECTOR Express has been designed to provide demanding and ever-increasing applications for thin film processes at the 45nm node and beyond while improving process throughput by up to 40 percent, the company claims. Novellus has received orders for more than 20 VECTOR Express systems, including multiple new customer penetrations.

Problem: Thin film repeatability has become challenging as thickness levels decline with each technology node. Improved repeatability and device reliability can be achieved by extending wafer heat-up time, but this reduces tool throughput in volume production environments. Also critical to thin film deposition is the need to reduce particle counts with each technology node.  

Solution: Key to VECTOR Express' enhanced productivity and fundamental thin film process improvement is the ‘SmartSoak' feature. SmartSoak utilizes the platform's multi-station sequential processing (MSSP) architecture to control wafer heat-up independently of film deposition. This enables a more stable and consistent wafer temperature at the start of film deposition while simultaneously reducing thin film processing time. In customer evaluations, VECTOR Express with SmartSoak is claimed to have set a new benchmark for defectivity performance at 0.08µm particle size for a 500Å TEOS oxide process. Thin film thickness control is better than one atomic layer on a 40Å silane spacer oxide process, demonstrating superior within-wafer and wafer-to-wafer thickness repeatability.

Applications: The system is capable of depositing all types of thin films in volume production environments for DRAM, Flash and logic applications.

Platform: In addition to SmartSoak, VECTOR Express reduces wafer mechanical handling time by >20 percent while improving wafer placement accuracy with the introduction of precision high speed mechanical components and automated wafer monitoring. A faster operating gate valve and loadlock pump help eliminate throughput impacts from longer heating periods. VECTOR Express also incorporates new advanced materials delivery technology to further ensure tool extendibility for thin film applications.

Availability: VECTOR Express will be in production release in the second quarter of 2007.


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