Friday, April 29, 2016

ALD on the road to Dublin - Visit at the Convention Centre Dublin

ALD and ALE 2016 Site Visit at the Convention Centre Dublin

ALD 2016 Conference Co-Chair Simon Elliott and ALE Chair Bert Ellingboe, along with Happening Conferences and Events, met on Thursday 28 April at the CCD in Dublin to finalise plans for the conference.  It is going to be an exciting 4 days in July and we can’t wait to welcome everyone to Dublin!

Bert Ellingboe Dublin City University , Simon Elliott, Tyndall National Institute & Anne Doherty, Happening Conferences and Events Launching the 16th International Conference on Atomic Layer Deposition incorporating the 3rd International Workshop on Atomic Layer Etching"
L - R Bert Ellingboe Dublin City University & Simon Elliott, Tyndall National Institute launching the 16th International Conference on Atomic Layer Deposition incorporating the 3rd International Workshop on Atomic Layer Etching

Thursday, April 28, 2016

UPDATE! Tutorials on Atomic-Layer-Processing – Sunday 24th July ALD2016 Dublin

Tutorial on Atomic-Layer-Processing – Sunday 24th July

Time  Speaker  Organisation  Title 
13:00 Fred Roozeboom TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands Processing for 3D-IC Technologies
13:30 Annelies Delabie IMEC, Belgium Atomic layer processing of 2D materials for beyond CMOS applications
14:00 Break
14:15 Sumit Agarwal Colorado School of Mines USA Plasma Physics and Diagnostics
14:45 Stephan Wege Plasway GmbH, Germany Plasma Processing Reactor Design
15:15 Keren Kanarik Lam Research, USA Overview of Atomic Layer Etching
15:45 Break
16:00 Sean Barry Carleton University, Canada ALD Precursor Design & Synthesis
16:30 Massimo Tallarida Alba, Spain Characterization of ALD processes and Materials using Synchrotron Light
17:00 Coaches to Guinness Storehouse for Welcome Reception

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 Critical Materials Conference Update -The Agony of New Material Introductions

 Buy Reports  | CMC Fabs   |  CMC Conference  |  Register Now

The Agony of New Material Introductions

Now that shrinks of IC feature sizes have begun to reach economic limits, future functionality improvements in ICs are increasingly derived from the use of new materials. The Critical Materials Conference 2016 - to be held May 5-6 in Hillsboro, Oregon ( - will explore best practices in the integration of novel materials into manufacturing. Dr. David Thompson, Senior Director, Center of Excellence in Chemistry, Applied Materials will present on "Agony in New Material Introductions - minimizing and correlating variabilities," which he was willing to discuss in advance with SemiMD.  "We'll review the challenges we run into after the materials system and chemistries are set and have been proven generally viable, but still require significant optimization", said Thompson.  Problems with dual-sourcing will also be revealed, "chemical suppliers protect their knowledge - not simple IP - but also their sub-supply-chains and proprietary methods of production, transport and delivery"..."In most cases the initial batch of any new molecule is made at a scale that would fit in a coffee mug." For the full article, click here, or attend Session II of the Critical Materials Conference, May 5-6, in Hillsboro, OR, for more details
This year's Critical Materials Conference features speakers from Intel, Micron, Veeco, and Air Liquide; among more than 20 powerful & actionable presentations

A highly differentiated program, with networking opportunities for all attendees. For full agenda details click here.
For more information on the conference please go to or contact or call 1-480-382-8336
Sponsors and Committee
Techcet LLC, PO Box 3056, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Strong sales of ALD production clusters boost Picosun

Picosun reports today : Picosun Oy, the leading equipment and solutions provider for high end ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) thin film coating technology, continues breaking sales records with its PICOPLATFORM™ production cluster tools.
Increasing sales of high volume PICOPLATFORM™ clusters to key industrial customers boosted the company’s 12-month rolling sales to 57 % growth, further accelerating the strong growth seen in 2015. Both batch and single wafer cluster tools are being installed in the leading semiconductor companies in the USA and Asia.

The main factors behind the continuous success of the PICOPLATFORM™ technology are low cost of ownership due to fast processing with multiple batch or single wafer ALD reactors in the same cluster tool, and easy maintenance with several support agreement options. Fully automated, SEMI S2 certified hardware solutions offer the leading process quality with record-low particle levels and excellent yield for up to 300 mm wafer size. The flexible, modular configuration of the cluster tools enables optimized production solutions tailored for every customer’s individual needs.

The strong sales promote substantial investments towards even stronger growth for Picosun. Best-in-class contract coating facilities, advanced service product portfolio, and expanding premises and worldwide locations affirm Picosun’s position as the ALD solutions provider of choice for the global microelectronics industries.

“We are proud of the success of our PICOPLATFORM™ technology. Fast, fully automatic batch processing ensures continuously new design wins with economical production and excellent end product quality. Customer satisfaction is everything to us. We are happy to witness how our dedication to ALD and our decades of ALD expertise now enable manufacturing in the most advanced semiconductor technology nodes,” states Mr. Juhana Kostamo, Managing Director of Picosun.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Gartner 2015 Top 10 WFE ranking picking up the ALD boom

According to Gartner the Worldwide semiconductor wafer-level manufacturing equipment revenue totaled $33.6 billion in 2015, a 1 percent decline from 2014. The top 10 vendors accounted for 77 percent of the market, which is a slight down as compared with 2014(%).

Interesting here form an ALD point of view is first to see that ASM International who heavily relies on ALD technology has moved in on top 10. Also Lam Research is climbing on its own (w/o KLA) up to a spot 2 position. How much of this growth is in actual ALD revenue is not known but many claim that Lam Research is taking market shares in ALD especially in the memory sector (DRAM & NAND)

"Lam Research experienced the strongest growth of the top 10 vendors in 2015, moving into the No. 2 position. The move of the industry to 3D device manufacturing pushed the company to 24.7 percent growth. Lam continues to be the dominant conductor etch manufacturer, but competition in the etch and deposition segment is expected to be fierce moving forward." reports Wall Street Insider (here).

I am no mathematician but Lam Research + KLA-Tencor will be Number 1 if the merger is completed.

Top 10 Companies' Revenue From Shipments of Total Wafer-Level Manufacturing Equipment, Worldwide (Millions of U.S. Dollars). As published by Wall Street Insider (here).

New Picosun video of ALD batch processing for coin protection

The coin and watch industries are two traditional technology branches which can  benefit from ALD. technology. Picosun has shared a new video on Youtube for their ALD coin protection production tool. More information can be found here :

A batch of coins that is loaded into a Picosun ALD reactor by an industrial robot.

A youtube video showing the loading procedure for batch processing of coins.

Friday, April 22, 2016

All about ALD - ASM Internationals Q1 2016 Earnings Conference Call

ASMi reports that Gartner and VLSI have recently estimated that the ALD market grew in excess of 20% in 2015. That makes ALD among the fastest-growing market segments within the wafer equipment market. ASMi is bthe leader in terms of the broad number of applications and market share in ALD. However, as reported earlier ASM sees a risk for a market share loss in the booming ALD market from strong competition. This is understandable since the ALD market is projected to double in the next 3-4 years for single and multi wafer tools while Large Batch Furnace ALD will grow at a lower pace.  However, for the 2016 calendar year ASMi expect a market share in ALD higher than in 2015.

ASM International N.V.  Q1 2016 Earnings Conference Call April 21, 2016 9:00 AM ET

The ASMi Earnings call was All About ALD and here are some statements from ASMi CEO Chuck del Parado made during the 1Q 2016 call investor today taken from the transcripts of the Q1 2016 Earnings Conference Call April 21, 2016 9:00 AM ET provided by Seeking Alpha (available here

Also good to have a look at is the Investor presentation for 1Q 2016 available here.


  • The ALD business continued to be the key revenue driver. By customer segment, revenue in the quarter was led by memory, still building on the strengths in 2015, followed by logic and foundry.
  • The market for single-wafer/mini-batch ALD remains on track with our forecast to double over three to four-year period. And that that is from more than US$600 million in 2014 to, at least, US$1.2 billion by the 2017/2018 timeframe [as a reference point the total deposition (PVD, CVD, ALD) market share was ~8 billion in 2015]
  • In summary, the prospects for ALD market in the coming years continue to be strong. And as a market leader, we believe we are well-positioned to benefit.

Logic Foundry

  • the biggest driver for single wafer ALD in 2016 could very well be logic/foundry. And if that really becomes true then likely our market share will increase in 2016. 
  • Logic represented the largest segment in the first quarter, and showed a strong increase compared to the fourth quarter, driven by demand related to the 10-nanometer technology node
  • the High-k Metal Gate applications, customers require more precise and formal deposition for several critical steps, such as for certain spacers and liners to build these advanced and complex infrastructures. In addition, the shrink to 10-nanometer also drives demand for multiple patterning, with more of the critical patterning steps 10-nanometer requiring spacer-defined multiple patterning based on single wafer ALD.
  • In total, the number of ALD layers were 10-nanometer, for which we have been selected has increased substantially compared to the previous technology node. As customers have started to make the first investments in the volume ramp of 10-nanometer, our confidence has strengthened that with the continued solid and leading market share, we are well-positioned for a significant increase in a share of wallet with key customers in the logic, foundry segment.


  • In the memory market, we already have a strong track record in multiple patterning, where our ALD equipment has supported key customers in the ramp of several technology generations. Multiple patterning continues to be a key enabler for customers in the DRAM sector. At the next technology node, the 1x node, the number of layers that require ALD-based multiple patterning will further increase.
  • The memory sector, which let our bookings in the last six quarters, represented the second largest segment in the first quarter, roughly on par with the foundry segment
  • In NAND flash, customer investments are increasingly geared towards 3D NAND. As we explained in previous calls, ALD-based patterning requirements are substantially less in 3D NAND compared to Planar NAND. At the same time, we are strongly focused on long patterning applications in 3D NAND and we expected these applications will increasingly contribute to our revenue in the second-half of 2016 and going into 2017.


  • EUV could best case hit the market at 7, but if it hits the market, we – the overall expectation from everybody is that the impact will be limited, if at all, at 7-nanometer, and that – a stronger influence could happen at 5-nanometer. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

High - K & Metal Precursors for ICs to Reach ~$400M by 2020

The Techcet ALD/CVD  High K & Metal Precursors report provides information on the applications and markets associated with front end and back end of line precursors used to produce high dielectric constant (K) dielectrics and atomic layer deposition metal oxides and nitrides.
Each report order includes an advisory service. Click to learn more.

Lam Research quarterly conference call - reporting on ALE & ALD

Here are the interesting parts on Atomic Layer Etching (ALE) & Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) from the Lam Research quarterly conference call. The call was with Martin Brian Anstice, President and Chief Executive Officer and Doug Bettinger, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Lam see that they will grow over the next several years by partnering closely with customers to enable key technology inflections such as 3D device architecture and multi-patterning process flows. These are two areas which can only be realized by Atomic Layer Processing like ALD & ALE. After spending many years with hybrid ALD/CVD processes (as Novelus) Lam is now obviously heading strong in the direction of pure ALD and also one of the main driving companies for ALE.  

This is a recent previous blog on Lam Research and ALD "Lam Research gets into the booming ALD business and doubles their install base". Below are selected parts that I found interesting of what Martin Brian Anstice had to say with respect to Etch, ALE and ALD for 3DNAND and multi-patterning:  

"First generation 3D NAND production involves etching through 30 or more stacked pairs of films, for these are growing to 60 or more pairs for next-generation devices, resulting in increased challenges for critical high aspect ratio dielectric etch and also staircase conductor etch. Our Flex F and G Series dielectric products featuring proprietary ion energy control and high selectivity have tripled their installed base in the last year and established Lam as the market leader in dielectric etch segments."

"Our Kiyo conductor etch platform with industry-leading etch selectivity has enabled more than a two times improvements in the number of layers that can be etched in situ for staircase applications with the results that a majority of 3D NAND customers have now included LAM in their staircase etch HVM purchases."

Martin Anstice is president and chief executive officer of Lam Research. (

"Our VECTOR ALD platform offers differentiated processing capability, allowing expansion of our SAM [SAM = served available market] for multi-patterning to now include 3D NAND gapfill applications also.Turning to FinFET and multi-patterning, during the quarter, we continued to build on the momentum of ourdifferentiated Kiyo with Hydra conductor etch and Flex dielectric etch platforms for critical front-end-of-line FinFET transistor solutions for 10-nanometer and 7-nanometer technology nodes."

"As we communicated at the recent SPIE Lithography Conference, atomic level processing to control variability is increasingly critical for multiple patterning and that need will persist in an EUV-enabled environments. Our customers at the conference continues to affirm their strategy of leveraging improvements in both EUV and multi-patterning to address their needs and together with our peer group. We have conviction, the deposition and etch multi-patterning applications will grow for many years to come."

Later in the Q&A section Martin Brian Anstice got some interesting questions with respect to ALE & ALD. Here he explained the with respect to ALE " the technology roadmap of the customers gets more challenging, the bigger the proportion of etch-related differentiation will be occupied by atomic level control", i.e., ALE. On the topic of ALD he was much more reluctant to answer specific questions due to the tough competition in ALD, but he stated  that "the atomic level deposition product roadmap for us has an opportunity to be disruptive more holistically and creates growth potentials for Lam Research above and beyond what might be available for a generic deposition kind of baseline." Here you can speculate that he is referring to ALD for High-k/Metal Gate stackst or  maybe High-k based Memory stacks, which are technologies Lam has not entered in the past. He ended by saying "So, we are behaving with stealth for reasons that are really important to us in terms of competitive advantage." So it will most probably come some interesting ALD technology from Lam in the future - obviously one wonder if it will be a Spatial ALD Technology like Applied Materials and Veeco.

Vortex Rotary Batch ALD by Lotus Applied Technology

Some days ago Beneq  shared news about the next solution of their spatial ALD equipment family: A new rotary spatial reactor that they are developing based on technology licensed from Lotus Applied Technology.

This form of Spatial ALD technology is pretty cool and for those of you interested details on the technology can be found here

"Instead of pulsing and purging precursors from a static substrate in a single chamber, the substrate is transported by rotation to the various precursor and purge zones of the reactor, eliminating the time required for precursor introduction, saturation, and purge with each ALD cycle. Further, Lotus’ patented Radical Enabled ALD process, incorporating Precursor “Separation” by Radical Deactivation technology, greatly simplifies zone separation in the reactor, and enables the use of a simple DC plasma for PEALD processing.

In summary, Lotus’ Vortex Rotary ALD offers many advantages, including:
  • Batch deposition speeds of several angstroms per second – faster than many oxide sputtering processes
  • Low particulate generation – no coating anywhere in the chamber except on the substrates and carrier surface
  • Low materials costs – precursors are consumed only on the substrate track – exhausted precursor material may be captured and re-used
  • Low temperature processing using simple DC plasma
  • All the advantages of ALD coatings

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

NRL Reveals Novel Uniform Coating Process of p-ALD

Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have devised a clever combination of materials - when used during the thin-film growth process - to reveal that particle atomic layer deposition, or p-ALD, deposits a uniform nanometer-thick shell on core particles regardless of core size, a discovery having significant impacts for many applications since most large scale powder production techniques form powder batches that are made up of a range of particles sizes. 

Artistic depiction of prior understanding of p-ALD (left) and new understanding of p-ALD (right) gained by NRL’s work, as well as implications for proactive applications using particle atomic layer deposition, which as UV, are captured in solar cells and abrasion resistance paints.
(U.S. Naval Research Laboratory) - See more at:

Artistic depiction of prior understanding of p-ALD (left) and new understanding of p-ALD (right) gained by NRL’s work, as well as implications for proactive applications using particle atomic layer deposition, which as UV, are captured in solar cells and abrasion resistance paints. (U.S. Naval Research Laboratory)


- See more at:

The original journal publication in JVSTA is given below as an abstract.

Growth per cycle of alumina atomic layer deposition on nano- and micro-powders

    Kedar Manandhar1,a), James A. Wollmershauser2, Janice E. Boercker2 and Boris N. Feigelson2,a)
    + View Affiliations
    a) Present address: Electronic Science and Technology Division, Naval Research Laboratory, 4555 Overlook Avenue SW, Washington DC 20375, USA. Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed; electronic addresses:;
    J. Vac. Sci. Technol. A 34, 021519 (2016);
    Core–shell powders consisting of a tungsten particle core and thin alumina shell have been synthesized using atomic layer deposition in a rotary reactor. Standard atomic layer deposition of trimethylaluminum/water at 150 °C utilizing a microdosing technique was performed on four different batches of powder with different average particle sizes. The particle size of the powders studied ranges from ∼25 to 1500 nm. The high mass-thickness contrast between alumina and tungsten in transmission electron microscopy images demonstrates that the particle core/shell interface is abrupt. This allows for the uncomplicated measurement of alumina thickness and therefore the accurate determination of growth per cycle. In agreement with prior works, the highest growth per cycle of ∼2 Å/cycle occurred on the batch of powder with the smallest average particle size and the growth per cycle decreased with increasing average particle size of a powder batch. However, the growth per cycle of the alumina film on an individual particle in a batch is shown to be independent of the size of an individual particle, and therefore, a powder batch which consists of particles size spanning orders of magnitude has constant shell thickness on all particles. This uniformity of thickness on different particle sizes in a particular batch is determined to be due to the difficulty of removing residual water molecules from the powder during the purging cycle of the atomic layer deposition(ALD) process. Therefore, rotary ALD on a single batch of powder with wide particle size distribution provides the same shell thickness regardless of individual particle size, which may have positive implications for particle ALD applications where the shell thickness determines critical parameters, such as particle passivation and manipulation of optical properties. 

Download presentations from The Surface Preparation and Cleaning Conference (SPCC) 2016

Here are a lot of interesting presentation available for free download:

The Surface Preparation and Cleaning Conference (SPCC) 2016

The Surface Preparation and Cleaning Conference (SPCC) is an annual event which brings together prominent researchers from the semiconductor industry and the university community to focus on developments and challenges in advanced wafer and mask cleaning and surface preparation technologies. 

Join industry experts from around the globe representing IC manufacturers, suppliers, and research organizations to present and discuss the industry’s best available data on wafer, mask and part cleaning technologies and solutions:
  • Wafer front-end
  • Wafer back-end
  • Post CMP
  • Packaging
  • Advanced mask
  • Equipment and parts
  • Environment, safety and health issues

My favorites:

INVITED: Electron beam generated plasmas: Ultra cold sources for low damage, atomic layer processing — Scott Walton, Naval Research Lab