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IQE

6 July 2015

OEM Group expands wafer surface preparation to LED processing for automotive lighting

OEM Group of Phoenix, AZ, USA (which supplies new and re-manufactured semiconductor capital equipment and upgrades focused on emerging markets) has received first-in-fab and repeat tool orders for its Cintillio wet chemical processing system from several ultra-bright (UB) LED makers in the automotive lighting sector.

With these orders, OEM Group has now expanded its production proven and patented ECO-Process wafer surface preparation solutions from the established markets of power device, CMOS IC and MEMS manufacturing into UB-LED fabrication (a new market for Cintillio). The tools will be used for ozone processing of some of the most sensitive layers exposed during LED manufacturing, including exposed silver, which to date has presented LED makers with difficult challenges where surface preparation is involved, says OEM Group.

Along with novel ozone processes optimized for exposed Ag, ECO-Processes provide LED makers with significant reductions in chemical waste disposal and deionized (DI) water consumption, greatly improving cost of ownership for wafer surface preparation, claims OEM Group. By taking the original Semitool wet chemical processing technology in this new direction, OEM Group says that it has demonstrated how it applies its focus to create sustaining solutions for emerging technologies.

Market research firm LEDInside expects continued significant growth in the automotive LED segment, particularly in daytime running lights (DRLs), high/low headlamp beams, and fog light applications, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48% forecast from 2014 to 2018.

Also, McKinsey & Company notes in a recent report that LED adoption can be accelerated by applying best practices in manufacturing, including increased automation levels and 'lean' manufacturing methods, as OEM Group now offers with Cintillio. OEM Group says that the repeat and first-in-fab orders from major UB-LED makers in Asia and Europe reflect the confidence that its customers have in these surface preparation processes.

"It is a testament to the development work on ozone processing over sensitive layers, such as Ag, carried out by our process development group based in Coopersburg, PA, that we are seeing traction and growth in the UBLED market," says Paul Inman, business development Chemical Process Technology (CPT) at OEM Group. "This work has enabled us to provide process solutions not only for UB-LED FEOL [front-end-of-line] applications, but also throughout the entire UBLED process flow," he adds.

"The ability to reduce DI water consumption by up to 85%, and the virtual elimination of chemistry and related disposal costs, are factors leading to a marked increase in interest in the ECO-Processes, especially in areas suffering severe water shortages," notes CPT product manager Graham Pye.

Since its introduction in 2009 as a replacement for the Semitool batch processing platform, Cintillio has provided a platform for acid, ozone and solvent processing in power device, CMOS IC, MEMS and now LED applications.

See related items:

OEM Group ships multi-tool surface preparation order for LED maker's 150mm production

OEM Group buys Applied's manual batch tool businesses

Tags: OEM Group LEDs Semitool Wet processing systems

Visit: www.oemgroupinc.com

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