AMEC Debuts New Etch Tool

SHANGHAI and SAN FRANCISCO, CA /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Today, in a move that extends its market reach and broadens its product portfolio, Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC) unveiled the Primo TSV200E, a compact, ultra-high-productivity etch tool for 200 mm wafer-level packaging, MEMS, and 3DIC applications. Leveraging advanced etch technologies found in AMEC's Primo D-RIE and Primo AD-RIE tools, the new system will be used to build CMOS image sensors, LEDs, MEMS, and other devices. Several tools are already deployed in production at Q Technology Ltd. (Q Tech) and JCAP Corp. (JCAP) in China. The customers are using the tool to support their advanced packaging activities. New orders are expected soon from Taiwan and Singapore.

Three key features differentiate the tool from the competition and make it especially valuable for through-silicon-via (TSV) applications. They include a dual-station chamber architecture for faster throughput, integrated pre-heat stations for high process reliability and effectiveness, and a unique gas delivery design for better uniformity and higher etch rates. Together "these features give the tool a 30% capital-efficiency premium over all other TSV etchers on the market."

The tool represents a natural step for AMEC and puts the Asia-based company at the center of a fast-growing market. Research firm Yole Developpement expects the 3D and wafer-level packaging equipment market to reach $788 million this year. By 2016, the number will soar to $2.4 billion. TSV etchers will account for a large share of the equipment, with strong demand likely to come from China-based companies.

AMEC developed its TSV etcher to meet the demand. 3DICs are essential enablers of the tiny system-on-chip packages that CMOS image sensors, LEDs, MEMS, and other devices depend on. The new stacking approach became imperative as transistor feature sizes shrank. The smaller features complicated voltage scaling and forced tradeoffs between power and performance. By stacking the die, interconnects are shorter than traditional wire bonding. This enables increased package densities, faster data transfer or processor speed, and lower power consumption—all in a smaller form factor.

JCAP President Mr. C.M. Lai said, "3DIC packaging is a key component of our technology roadmap, and TSV process modules are critical enablers of this technology. AMEC's Primo TSV200E tool is delivering on its performance and productivity promise. With the tool, we're meeting our product development milestones and staying competitive. We're pleased to work with AMEC and have placed a repeat order."

Q Tech President Mr. Hao Zhou said, "AMEC is an important partner in our advanced packaging production efforts. We appreciate having a nearby supplier to support our TSV technology needs. The Primo TSV200E etcher is delivering good process performance and high throughput at lower production costs. These are the essential ingredients that help us build highest quality devices."

"For customers of our TSV etcher tools, productivity and capital efficiency are absolutely imperative," said Tom Ni, Vice President at AMEC. "Their product mix is constantly evolving, which means they need a system with the flexibility to etch the widest range of features covering a variety of products. With the Primo TSV200E, they get a workhorse tool that is built to process wafers fast, with high reliability and at a lower overall cost. We're very pleased that our first TSV tools went to innovators like Q Tech and JCAP."

Central to the Primo TSV200E tool is a dual-station chamber architecture that enables either a single wafer or two wafers to be processed simultaneously. This configuration can be extended to accommodate up to three dual-station process modules. When compared with competitors' single-station chamber tools, this unique feature nearly doubles wafer throughput potential while cutting process costs. A de-coupled high-density plasma source and bias increases etch rates at lower pressures and enables high-process-control flexibility over a wide process window. Also driving etch rate and uniformity improvements is a proprietary gas delivery design that optimizes process performance in the entire process regime, while an RF pulsing bias capability eliminates profile notching.

The Primo TSV200E is available now. Development of a 300 mm version is already underway. More data on the tool can be found online.

About AMEC
Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. provides advanced micro-fabrication equipment to global semiconductor manufacturers and leading companies in adjacent high-tech sectors. Customers use its Etch technology to build the complex devices that power today's electronics and other products. Its advanced systems deliver the optimum combination of technology innovations and productivity for the 65/45/32/28/22 nm process nodes and beyond. It is Asia-based, with headquarters in China. It also maintains R&D, manufacturing, business, and support operations in Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.

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