Thursday, December 15, 2016

"ALE has been lurking in the shadows for some time"

Following IEDM 2016 in San Fransisco - Here is a very nice overview of the leading ALE equipment supplier status and applications for FinFET & Gate-All-Around Transistors, 3DNAND, DRAM, Multiple Patterning by Jeff Dorsch, technology editor at Semiconductor Engineering. 

"ALE has been lurking in the shadows for some time. It was first patented in 1988, but even today it is not needed for many etch applications. Its key role is in 3D NAND flash memory devices, where high-selectivity etching is needed for the high-aspect ratios with the hard masks, along with the channel formation and the staircase contact."

OEMs covered:
  • Applied Materials
  • Lam research
  • Hitachi High Technologies
  • Tokyo Electron
Besides the Tier 1 OEMs you will also find ALE chambers from:
Having recently started ALE research myself  working with Plasway Technologies GmbH and Lund Nano Lab on some really cool stuff, it is a big mystery why the ALD OEMs does not move into this field. It can only be explained by that plasma processing is very difficult -  a lot of Voodoo! To start with you need wafer bias, which many PEALD chambers does not have and secondly ceramic chamber parts for plasma facing parts. Finally, reactive ion etching operates at much lower pressure and ALD OEMs does not typically integrate turbo pumps to their chambers. 
The next opportunity to learn all about ALE will be at the ALE2017 that is held in conjunction to ALD2017 :

DATE & LOCATION:  July 15-18, 2017
Sheraton Denver, Denver, Colorado

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