Monday, July 13, 2015

Applied Materials to introduce a new system for Atomic Layer Deposition - Olympia™ ALD

Woah - this one we all have been waiting for - a paradigm shift in ALD processing by Applied Materials! I have not checked out all the details yet and yes it is a Spatial ALD machine and I am stunned with what I have seen so far : As announced today - Applied Materials to introduce a new system for Atomic Layer Deposition - Olympia™ ALD. Continued process scaling is driving new levels of device performance. ALD is essential for a growing number of the device-critical process steps in 3D NAND and logic FinFET fabrication. However, while the conformality and uniform film thickness achieved with ALD is still vital for CD control, additional demands are being made on ALD to deliver a growing range of high-quality, robust films within restrictive thermal budgets of next-generation nodes.

The Applied Olympia™ ALD system for stand-alone deposition of dielectric and metal films solves the significant challenge of obtaining high-quality ALD films at the low deposition temperatures needed to fabricate planar and 3D devices at next-generation nodes, delivering a new class of high-performance ALD.

Today’s ALD involves not only laying down a film by depositing a succession of layers each one atom thick. The process is also often accompanied by materials engineering (treatments) required to impart specific properties to these films. The Olympia system’s capabilities extend well beyond conventional solutions, performing the dual functions of deposition and materials engineering through flexible modular design. This modularity offers unmatched sequencing capabilities that solve the significant challenge of obtaining high-quality films at the low deposition temperatures required to manufacture today’s leading-edge memory and logic chips. The flexible design also enables the system to accommodate the wide variety of precursors and process/treatment combinations that will be needed to deliver the quality, diversity and thermal range of ALD processes anticipated for future generations of devices.

Video - In the Olympia chamber, wafers rotate through isolated zones of different chemistries. Here, each wafer is exposed to two chemistries in series; they react at the wafer surface to create a conformal monolayer of film. An additional monolayer is deposited with every exposure cycle. Treatment processes can be incorporated into the sequence for atomic-level materials engineering to meet specific customer needs. 

The Olympia ALD system is differentiated by innovative chemistry management that ensures absolute separation of the individual precursors used in the deposition process. This unique feature is crucial for minimizing the creation of potentially damaging byproducts and particles that can form when chemistries mix freely. Consequently, the system generates exceptionally few defects, running for extended periods between chamber cleanings. Furthermore, the system offers a more than 50 percent productivity benefit over conventional, time-separated ALD by eliminating the pump/purge step after each chemistry.

According to Solid State Technology Applied Materials formed a Patterning Group about a year ago, led by Prabu Raja, group vice president. The group handles etch, CVD, selective material removal and ALD. “The growth there has been tremendous,” Dickerson said. Dickerson said they have moved $400 million of investment in the company into these opportunities and into new products.

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