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10 April 2013

SPTS supplies etch systems to European R&D organizations

Plasma etch, deposition and thermal processing equipment maker SPTS Technologies Ltd of Newport, Wales, UK says it has received multiple orders from several European research and development (R&D) institutions, including the Delft Institute of Microsystems & Nanoelectronics (DIMES), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institut FEMTO-ST (Franche-Comté Electronique Mécanique Thermique et Optique – Sciences et Technologies) and IEF (Institut d’Electronique Fondamentale).

Dimes is a research institute within the Delft University of Technology with cleanroom facilities where submicron electronics and MEMS technologies are combined to fabricate micro systems. Applications are medical (flexible chips in catheters), nano-instrumentation (integrated microfluidic jet systems, sensors), infrastructure (integrated radars) and energy (smart lighting). SPTS’ Omega i2L Rapier system will be used for wafer-deep etching of micromechanical structures and through silicon vias with vertical or tapered sidewalls. The selection of this system was driven by the need for a reliable DRIE system, able to fulfill the stringent process requirements, says SPTS.

Swiss research institute EPFL chose SPTS’ advanced physical source (APS) to focus on dielectric etching. Of particular interest is controlling sidewall quality for shallow optical waveguides in silicon nitride and also etching 40μm deep trenches into fused silica glass. The APS is characterized by a plasma density that is typically ten times higher than conventional inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) reactors, making the module well suited to etch strongly-bonded materials such as glass, and even tougher materials like silicon carbide (SiC) and sapphire.

France’s IEF will use its etch system for two dissimilar silicon processes. The first application involves fabricating nano trenches 80nm wide at >5:1 aspect ratio and with super smooth sidewalls (with a roughness of <6nm), with the second, a 50μm feature at 400μm deep. IEF awarded the business to SPTS following a demonstration which saw its Pegasus Rapier process module perform to these rigorous requirements using a single hardware set-up.

The French research organization Institut Femto-ST chose the Pegasus Rapier for their optics, sensor and actuator device development. During the evaluation process, SPTS satisfied stringent process specifications to win the business.

“Our customers each carried out extensive testing activities across multiple competing vendors, running demonstrations on critical applications and bench-marking technical capabilities, system functionality, and cost,” said Dr. Dave Thomas, marketing director for etch products at SPTS. “These wins demonstrate SPTS is meeting its commitment to satisfy the demanding requirements of the world’s most prolific R&D organizations. It is through this type of collaboration that new production applications will emerge”.

Tags: SPTS Etch SiC


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