Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 will be a good year for the ALD Equipment Manaufacturers

According to Seeking Alpha : "In its Q4 report, TSMC (a top-3 chip equipment buyer, along with Intel and Samsung) set a 2016 capex budget of $9B-$10B, a healthy increase over reported 2015 capex of $8.12B. The spending will help finance TSMC's 16nm manufacturing process ramp and the start of production (towards the end of 2016) for its 10nm process."'

If TSMC is investing it means that also the other Foundries will be investing the interesting question is - What does this mean for ALD - to start with the number of ALD process steps are increasing for each node since introduction fo ALD High-k at 45 nm (Intel 2007). At 14/16 nm it is reported that there are more than 10 ALD process steps and at 10 there will maybe be getting closer to 20. Growth are seen in typical CVD applications like:

  • Replacement Metal Gate stack (TiN, TaN, TiAl)
  • Spacers and liners for e.g. multiple patterning
  • Solid state diffusion doping for FinFETs by P and B doped ALD Oxide
  • Metallization barriers, liner and seed
  • Embedded memory or decoupling capacitors

So when TSMC is increasing its investments in processing equipment it means big business for ALD equipment manufacturers and especially those that are strong in Logic ALD processes like ASM and LAM Research which is dominated by single wafer and mutli-wafer tools rather that batch furnaces (Kokusai, ASM, TEL) more commonly used for commodity products like DRAM and NAND. It will be very interesting to follow how successful Applied Materials will be the coming years with the introduction of their new Olympia ALD Platform using a Spatial ALD technology too drive up through put.

Market estimation  for ALD excluding Large Batch ALD (supplied by e.g. Tokyo Electron, Kokusai, ASM), which is typically reported as LPCVD. (