Thursday, August 31, 2023

Metal Plating Chemicals Revenues to Boost into 2024

Growth driven by developments in leading-edge logic and memory

San Diego, CA, August 31, 2023: TECHCET—the electronic materials advisory firm providing business and technology information— reports that revenues for the Semiconductor Metal Plating Chemicals market will rise to USD $1,047M in 2024, a 5.6% increase from the forecasted USD $992M for 2023. The largest revenues for 2024 are forecasted for copper plating chemicals used for device-level interconnect and advanced packaging wiring, as explained in TECHCET’s newly released Metal Chemicals Critical Materials Report. The 5-year CAGR’s for 2022-2027 are expected to remain on an upward track, with 3.5% growth for advanced packaging and 3% for copper device interconnects.
“Increased usage of advanced packaging, redistribution layers, and copper pillar structures are all factors contributing to the growth of the metal chemicals market segment,” states Dr. Karey Holland, Chief Strategist at TECHCET.

A potential risk factor for the metal chemicals market is increased lead times and price increases for electronic chemicals. Fabs and plating chemical suppliers are not reporting any difficulty obtaining metals for semiconductor plating in 2023, however, shortages may occur in the future. Geopolitical tensions with China, for instance, may hinder the availability of tin that is mined there. Similarly, nickel imported from Russia and Ukraine may face supply constraints.

To read the full article, go to:

For more details on the Semiconductor Metal Plating Chemicals market & supply chains, go to:

To discuss more on the supply-chains for metal chemicals and other semiconductor materials, come talk to TECHCET at the CMC Seminar in Taichung, Taiwan on October 25th. For more information and to register, go to:

Balancing Fundamental and Applied ALD with Stacey Bent – ALD Stories Ep. 26

In Episode 26, Professor Stacey Bent from Stanford University joins to discuss all aspects of her career, including early area selective deposition work, how her different academic appointments in chemistry and engineering have influenced the direction of her work, and how ALD can be used in energy applications. Stacey and Tyler also chat about how Stacey finds the best paths for her students, how being a professor and Vice Provost feedback to each other, and new programs she has initiated in her Vice Provost position. 

In this episode: 
00:00 Introduction 
03:45 Area Selective Work 
15:40 Chemistry & Engineering Backgrounds 
21:20 ALD for energy applications 
33:54 Stacey as an advisor 
36:19 Vice Provost position

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Announcement Symposium G01 on “ALD & ALE Applications, #19” at the 244th ECS Meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, Oct. 8-12, 2023

Announcement Symposium G01 on “ALD & ALE Applications, #19

at the 244th ECS Meeting in Gothenburg, Sweden, Oct. 8-12, 2023

See for detailed information about the 48 symposia, late manuscript submission requirements, and financial assistance:

Early (pre-)registration deadline is September 11, 2023.

In the ONLINE PROGRAM you can find symposium G01 on “ALD & ALE Applications, #19” which runs from Monday through Thursday Oct. 9-12 with a total of 77 presentations, incl. 1 keynote and 17 invited speakers. 

Sponsors of Symposium G01 on “ALD & ALE Applications, #19”

6K Energy Partners with Forge Nano to Revolutionize Battery Material Production

6K Energy, a trailblazer in sustainable battery material production, has joined forces with Forge Nano to introduce cutting-edge Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technology for commercial-scale production of NMC 811 cathodes. This collaboration aims to transform the battery industry by enhancing performance, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

Forge Nano, known for its precision nano-coating technology, and 6K Energy are set to redefine battery material production. By integrating Forge Nano's proprietary Atomic Armor™ surface technology into 6K Energy's process, the partnership promises unparalleled advancements.

Atomic Armor employs ALD coatings with unprecedented precision and speed. This method enhances battery materials, resulting in superior capacity, safety, charging rates, and cost-efficiency. Combining Forge Nano's Atomic Armor with 6K Energy's innovative UniMelt® materials production process is expected to yield high-performance and cost-effective battery materials.

Dr. Richard Holman, Senior VP of Battery Products at 6K Energy, emphasizes the impact of the collaboration, stating, "Leveraging Forge Nano's Atomic Armor platform provides us with a coating technology that meets the stringent specifications of our lithium-ion battery materials."

6K Energy's mission to produce domestically sourced battery materials for electric vehicles and renewable energy is greatly amplified by this collaboration. As the demand for advanced battery technologies grows, strategic partnerships like this one are poised to drive sustainable and high-performance solutions.

About 6K:

6K is a sustainability-driven company offering innovative solutions across industries. Their UniMelt® microwave plasma production system transforms materials into groundbreaking products. The company's 6,000-degree philosophy signifies both the operational temperature of UniMelt and the sun's surface temperature. 6K Energy, a division focused on domestically sourced battery materials, accelerates the transition to electric vehicles and renewable energy.

For more information, visit

6K Energy to Implement Forge Nano Equipment for Commercial Production of NMC 811 - Forge Nano

Monday, August 28, 2023

The Future of Nanoimprint Lithography: Exploring Possibilities and Challenges for High-Volume Production

Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) has emerged as a promising technique for the replication of intricate nano-scale features, offering higher resolution and uniformity compared to traditional photolithography methods. As semiconductor technology advances towards smaller and more complex structures, NIL holds the potential to revolutionize high-volume production processes. In this blog post, we'll delve into the current status of nanoimprint lithography and the possibilities it presents for future high-volume productions, as well as the main issues and concerns that need to be addressed.

NIL utilizes a process where a patterned mask is brought into contact with a resist-coated substrate. The resist fills the relief patterns in the mask through capillary action, creating precise nano-scale features. With a focus on simplicity and cost-effectiveness, NIL doesn't require the complex optics found in traditional photolithography, making it an attractive option for semiconductor memory applications.

Early work on combining NIL and Atomic Layer Etching by AlixLabs Founders

AlixLabs (  founders and Lund Nano Lab (Lund University, Sweden) collaborated 2018 to exploit Atomic Layer Etching (ALE) for improved NIL quality and resolution. ALE involved Cl2 monoatomic layer adsorption on silicon, followed by controlled Cl2-modified silicon layer removal using argon bombardment. This precision process allowed diverse nanopatterns to be etched onto silicon wafers with electron beam lithography. The treated wafers served as robust nanoimprint stamps in a thermal process, transferring features as small as 30 nm into a poly(methyl methacrylate) layer. ALE's potential for ultrahigh-resolution nanoimprint stamp fabrication advances nanofabrication techniques significantly.

Most Recent Achievements:

Recent study by TEL and Canon have demonstrated NIL's resolution capabilities of better than 10 nm, positioning the technology as a candidate for printing multiple generations of critical memory levels using a single mask. The potential to eliminate material waste by applying resist only where necessary adds to its appeal. Moreover, the simplicity and compactness of NIL equipment allow for clustered setups, enhancing productivity.

NIL Addressing Challenges in DRAM Scaling:

Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) memory faces the challenge of continued scaling, with roadmap targets aiming at half pitches of 14 nm and beyond. The complexities of achieving tighter overlays, greater precision in critical dimensions, and edge placement errors demand innovative solutions. In DRAM fabrication, overlay requirements are even more stringent than in NAND Flash, with an error budget of 15-20% of the minimum half pitch.

Edge Placement Error (EPE):

EPE, the difference between intended and printed features, poses a significant challenge in modern semiconductor manufacturing. The intricacies of multiple patterning schemes and intricate device layouts contribute to EPE's complexity. Ensuring accurate placement of features is critical for maintaining device yield and performance.

The Quasi-Atomic Layer Etch (Quasi-ALE) process

The process is a specialized etching technique employed in advanced semiconductor manufacturing, particularly in processes like Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL). Quasi-ALE combines elements of Atomic Layer Etching (ALE) and conventional etching methods to achieve precise and controlled material removal. In the context of Nanoimprint Lithography, Quasi-ALE is used to etch materials with exceptional precision, targeting nanoscale features while minimizing damage to the surrounding areas. It involves a cyclic process where alternating etching and passivation steps are applied to the substrate. Each cycle removes a controlled layer of material, ensuring highly uniform etching and minimal lateral etch. One can discribe Quasi-ALE as a more productive way of performing ALE.

The key steps of the Quasi-ALE process typically involve:

1. Etch Step: During this step, a reactive gas is introduced into the etch chamber, which chemically reacts with the material to be removed. This reaction results in the selective removal of the material layer.

2. Passivation Step: In this step, a passivating species is introduced, forming a protective layer on the substrate surface. This layer prevents further etching and preserves the material beneath.

3. Purge and Repeat: The chamber is purged to remove any excess gases, and the process is repeated in a cyclical manner. Each cycle removes a controlled atomic layer of material.

Quasi-ALE is particularly advantageous for applications requiring high precision and control, such as in Nanoimprint Lithography, where maintaining accurate pattern dimensions and minimizing damage is critical. By combining the benefits of both ALE and traditional etching, Quasi-ALE enables advanced semiconductor manufacturing processes to achieve unprecedented levels of accuracy and uniformity.

Addressing EPE with Nanoimprint Lithography:

Researchers are actively exploring techniques to mitigate edge placement errors in nanoimprint lithography. This includes focusing on overlay accuracy, critical dimension uniformity (CDU), and local CDU. Compensatory methods such as dose control and reverse tone pattern transfer are being investigated to improve CDU and minimize errors.

The Role of Dose Control:

Varying the exposure dose offers a means of achieving small shifts in critical dimensions. Initial studies suggest that dose variations could lead to CD shifts of one to 2 nm. This strategy holds promise for enhancing CDU in the imprint process.

Reverse Tone Pattern Transfer:

Reverse tone processes, involving spin-on hard mask (SOHM) application and etch-back, offer an alternative approach to pattern transfer. While this method provides advantages such as reduced resist erosion and improved wall angles, trade-offs between CDU and line width roughness (LWR) need to be addressed.

Looking Ahead: The Possibilities and Challenges:

While NIL exhibits impressive potential, there are key challenges to overcome before it can be effectively integrated into high-volume semiconductor manufacturing. Ensuring precise overlay accuracy, managing complex CDU requirements, and effectively addressing edge placement errors remain pivotal. As the industry strives to achieve the roadmap's aggressive scaling targets, the evolution of nanoimprint lithography will undoubtedly play a crucial role.

Nanoimprint lithography is poised to reshape the semiconductor manufacturing landscape, offering higher resolution and cost-efficiency compared to traditional methods. With ongoing research and development, addressing challenges such as overlay accuracy, CDU, and EPE, the path to successful high-volume production through NIL seems promising. As technology continues to advance, the journey towards perfecting nanoimprint lithography is an exciting one, holding the potential to shape the future of chip fabrication.

Tokyo Electron (TEL): 

TEL specializes in Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) technology, offering precision equipment, advanced etching solutions, and expertise in process control. They excel in alignment, overlay correction, CDU management, and etching technology.

TEL has previously demonstrated that for sub 7  nm CMOS technology, ALE and ALD integration improves SAC and patterning processes, achieving precise CD shrinking and enhanced selectivity.


Canon contributes to Nanoimprint Lithography (NIL) advancement by leveraging TEL's strengths in alignment, overlay correction, CDU management, and advanced etching solutions. They integrate these capabilities with the Reverse Tone Pattern Transfer, ensuring precise pattern replication and fidelity. Canon's focus on innovation drives high-resolution, cost-effective solutions for semiconductor manufacturing.

Canon has introduced a groundbreaking solution in the field of semiconductor technology with the development of the world's first mass-production equipment called the "FPA-1200NZ2C." This innovative tool utilizes nanoimprint lithography, a cutting-edge technique that involves imprinting nanometer-scale mask patterns onto substrates. By adopting this novel approach, Canon aims to overcome the limitations of conventional miniaturization methods. The FPA-1200NZ2C is already in use by Toshiba Memory, a prominent semiconductor memory manufacturer. This advancement marks a significant step forward in semiconductor manufacturing, enabling the creation of more intricate and advanced circuit patterns.


High-Definition Nanoimprint Stamp Fabrication by Atomic Layer Etching — Lund University

Nanoimprint post processing techniques to address edge placement error (

Nanoimprint Lithography | Canon Global

FPD Lithography Equipment | Canon Global

Benefits of atomic-level processing by quasi-ALE and ALD technique - IOPscience

Acknowledgement :

Thanks for sharing the SPIE article on LinkedIn and giving insights Frederick Chen!

Sunday, August 27, 2023

The Industiral Ecosystem of Si Chips and Atomic Layer Deposition - Webinar

Register now for a FREE #ACSScienceTalks #VirtualEvent with  Assoc Editor discussing "The Industrial Ecosystem of Si Chips & Atomic Layer Deposition as a Key Nanofabrication Technology." 👉

Dutch Scientists at TNO & TU Eindhoven Develop Efficient Monolithic Perovskite-PERC Tandem Solar Cell


  • Champion 23.7% efficient perovskite-PERC tandem cell was achieved.

  • The developed thermal atomic layer deposition (ALD) process for NiO is reported.

  • ALD NiO was added to an ITO/SAM recombination junction to improve the device yield.

Dutch researchers at TNO and TU Eindhoven have achieved a notable breakthrough in solar cell technology by creating a monolithic perovskite-PERC tandem solar cell with a remarkable 23.7% efficiency. The innovation lies in a new tunnel recombination junction (TRJ) design that includes indium tin oxide (ITO), carbazole (2PACz), and a nickel(II) oxide (NiO) layer. Unlike conventional TRJs, the addition of NiO significantly reduces electrical issues in the perovskite top cell.

(a) HAADF-scanning transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of a tandem cell using ITO/NiO/2PACz. (b) Compositional line profiles at the interface ITO/NiO/SAM extracted from an EDX elemental mapping. Note that the figure is rotated 90°.

By using atomic layer deposition (ALD), the team improved the uniformity of the self-assembled monolayer (SAM) in the TRJ structure. This new solar cell design includes a perovskite absorber, electron transport layers, an ITO electrode, a silver (Ag) metal contact, and an antireflective coating.

Comparing their creation with a reference cell, the researchers found the novel TRJ-based cell achieved an efficiency of 23.7%, slightly below the reference cell's 24.2%. However, the novel design's uniform coverage of SAM and consistent efficiency across different devices within and between batches makes it promising for large-scale production.

Published in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, this research opens doors for improved perovskite-PERC tandem solar cell technology using ALD NiO.

Atomic layer deposition of NiO applied in a monolithic perovskite/PERC tandem cell - ScienceDirect

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions Unveils State-of-the-Art Semiconductor Seals and Pioneering Engineering Expertise at Semicon Taiwan 2023: Spotlight on Atomic Layer Deposition Application

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions Exhibits Advanced Semiconductor Seals and Engineering Prowess at Semicon Taiwan 2023

Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, a leading player in engineering solutions, is making waves at Semicon Taiwan 2023 by showcasing its cutting-edge engineering capabilities and an expanded range of semiconductor sealing solutions. The event, hosted at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center, features Trelleborg's booth highlighting their latest additions to the Isolast PureFab FFKM material range, a significant advancement in semiconductor seal technology.

At the forefront of their display is the Isolast PureFab JPF40, an ultra-high temperature perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) designed for demanding subfab applications and thermal processes. This includes pivotal processes such as rapid thermal processing (RTP) and atomic layer deposition (ALD), crucial for semiconductor manufacturing. This material boasts unparalleled compression set performance within a wide operating temperature range, ensuring airtight seals in critical processes even at extreme temperatures reaching +300°C. The remarkable capability to withstand peak application temperatures exceeding +325°C makes it a game-changer in the semiconductor industry.

Ethan Huang, the Semiconductor Segment Manager at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, emphasized the vital role of reliable sealing solutions in safeguarding semiconductor processes against escalating temperatures and aggressive chemical agents. The Isolast PureFab JPF40 and other offerings within the PureFab range are meticulously engineered to address the unique challenges posed by semiconductor environments.

Furthermore, Trelleborg's expertise extends to predictive engineering through finite element analysis. This innovative approach aids in modeling compression set data, allowing engineers to more accurately estimate the usable lifetime of seals during design and production. This predictive technology is a significant leap forward, enabling enhanced seal longevity assessments.

A standout in their exhibition is the Isolast K-Fab Flange Seal, designed for critical subfab applications and capable of withstanding temperatures up to +327°C, dependent on material selection. The seal's versatility in material options, including Isolast FFKM, PureFab FFKM, and PureFab Fluoroelastomer (FKM), makes it adaptable to various requirements.

An interesting focus lies on Trelleborg's contributions to atomic layer deposition (ALD). Their materials, like Isolast PureFab JPF22, exhibit remarkable chemical compatibility with wet process chemicals, steam, and amine-based ALD precursors. This makes them well-suited for ALD applications, which are vital to modern semiconductor fabrication processes.

In addition to their product lineup, Trelleborg also presents the Turcon Variseal NW, showcasing their prowess in spring-energized seals for extreme environments. This seal operates across an extensive temperature range and excels in both wear resistance and friction characteristics.

Semicon Taiwan 2023 provides a platform for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions to not only showcase their groundbreaking products but also to engage with industry professionals about their specific sealing needs. The event highlights the convergence of innovative engineering and the semiconductor industry's evolving demands.

Saturday, August 26, 2023

SK Hynix Leads DRAM Industry's Rebound in Q2 with Revenue Surge, Reclaims No. 2 Position

South Korea's SK Hynix Inc. has orchestrated a substantial resurgence in the DRAM chip sector during Q2, propelling itself back to the second-largest global position and surging ahead of Micron Technology Inc., which now stands third. The chipmaker achieved a nearly 50% surge in DRAM shipments, propelling its revenue to $3.44 billion in the April-June period. Notably, SK Hynix excelled in DDR5 and HBM chip shipments, products with higher average selling prices (ASPs) than standard commodity DRAM items, thus enhancing its ASP growth by 7-9% compared to the previous quarter. In contrast, market leader Samsung Electronics experienced a 7-9% ASP drop while retaining its top position, and third-place Micron sustained relatively stable ASP with DDR5 shipments. The overall DRAM industry marked a 20.4% QoQ revenue increase in Q2, signaling a potential turnaround in the sector.

SK Hynix leads DRAM industry’s Q2 revenue rebound, retakes No. 2 spot - KED Global

Global Semiconductor Industry Poised for 2024 Recovery Amidst Near-Term Challenges, SEMI Reports

In a recent report by SEMI, in collaboration with TechInsights, the global semiconductor industry shows signs of emerging from its downcycle, with a projected recovery expected in 2024. The report highlights that the third quarter of 2023 is anticipated to witness a healthy 10% quarter-on-quarter growth in electronics sales, while memory IC sales are set to achieve double-digit growth for the first time since the downturn began in 2022. Although headwinds persist in the semiconductor manufacturing sector during the latter half of 2023, a rebound is on the horizon.

Inventory drawdowns at integrated device manufacturer (IDM) and fabless companies are forecasted to keep fab utilization rates lower than those seen in the first half of 2023. Despite this, positive trends are noted in capital equipment billings and silicon shipments, stemming from government incentives and robust equipment sales backlogs.

Market indicators suggest the semiconductor industry reached its nadir by mid-2023, commencing a path to recovery, setting the stage for growth in 2024. All segments are predicted to witness year-over-year increases in 2024, with electronics sales projected to surpass their 2022 peak.

Clark Tseng, Senior Director of Market Intelligence at SEMI, pointed out that the gradual demand recovery might extend the timeline for inventory normalization until the end of 2023, leading to temporary reductions in fab utilization rates. Nevertheless, semiconductor manufacturing is expected to hit its bottom in Q1 2024.

Boris Metodiev, Director of Market Analysis at TechInsights, highlighted the resilience of equipment sales and fab construction despite the broader downturn. He attributed this trend to government incentives driving new fab projects and strong backlogs supporting equipment sales.

Original Source: SEMI

Friday, August 25, 2023

AI Chip Market Poised to Soar: Gartner Predicts Revenue to Reach $53 Billion in 2023, Double by 2027

Gartner forecasts that worldwide AI chips revenue will reach $53.4 billion in 2023, an increase of 20.9% from 2022. The growth is driven by the developments in generative AI and the increasing use of a wide range of AI-based applications, such as natural language processing, computer vision, speech recognition and machine learning.

The AI semiconductor industry is on the brink of a remarkable surge, as outlined by Gartner's latest forecast. Predicting an impressive revenue increase of 20.9%, the industry is set to reach a staggering $53.4 billion in 2023. This upward trajectory shows no signs of slowing down, with anticipated growth rates of 25.6% in 2024, culminating in an AI chips revenue forecast of $67.1 billion. However, the real eye-opener lies in Gartner's projection for 2027, where the AI chips market is poised to more than double, reaching an astonishing $119.4 billion. 

This meteoric rise is attributed to the expanding landscape of AI-based applications in data centers, edge devices, and more, necessitating the deployment of high-performance graphics processing units (GPUs) and tailored semiconductor devices. Notably, custom-designed AI chips are expected to become a staple, replacing prevalent architectures and accommodating the growing demand for optimized AI workloads. The consumer electronics sector is also embracing this transformation, with the value of AI-enabled application processors predicted to surpass $1.2 billion by the close of 2023. The future shines brightly for AI chips, as generative AI techniques and hyperscalers' interests drive innovation and efficiency in deploying AI applications. Gartner's insights underscore the imminent revolution in the semiconductor industry, ushering in an era of unprecedented growth and potential.

TRION Battery and Forge Nano Partner to Advance Lithium-Ion Battery ALD Tech

TRION Battery Technologies and Forge Nano have teamed up to revolutionize lithium-ion battery performance. This strategic partnership combines Forge Nano's Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) coating technology with TRION's innovative SX-silicon materials to enhance batteries for aerospace, defense, and other high-demand markets.

TRION Battery Technologies and Forge Nano have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly develop lithium-ion battery solutions. This collaboration marks the beginning of a journey toward improved battery performance.

Forge Nano's ALD material coatings have shown significant improvements on various battery electrode materials. The partnership aims to achieve similar breakthroughs by combining these coatings with TRION's SX-silicon materials. TRION's SX-silicon has successfully overcome challenges associated with silicon use in batteries, achieving impressive milestones.

This partnership caters to demanding markets like defense, aerospace, and electric mobility. As batteries become vital in these sectors, the collaboration promises to showcase the strengths of both technologies.

The partnership accelerates TRION's SX-silicon commercialization strategy, reinforcing its value proposition to cell manufacturers. Forge Nano sees the partnership as aligning with their target markets and aims to establish a strong US supply chain.

The MoU outlines joint testing of ALD coatings on TRION's SX-silicon. The partnership aims to extend battery life, improve energy density, and enhance overall safety and efficiency in lithium-ion batteries.

TRION Battery and Forge Nano's partnership is set to reshape lithium-ion battery technology. By combining their expertise and materials, they're on a path to enhance battery capabilities for critical industries. This collaboration demonstrates the potential of synergy in driving technological advancement

TRION Battery Technologies and Forge Nano are poised to revolutionize lithium-ion battery safety and performance through their strategic collaboration. Integrating Forge Nano's advanced Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) technology, known as Atomic Armor®, with TRION's innovative SX-silicon materials, the partnership aims to enhance battery capabilities for aerospace, defense, and beyond. By creating protective ALD coatings on electrode surfaces, they prevent degradation, improve heat dissipation, and mitigate reactivity during thermal runaway. This innovative approach not only promises higher performance but also addresses critical safety concerns, solidifying their position as pioneers in the realm of advanced battery technology.

German Firm EMD Electronics Invests $300 Million to Expand Semiconductor Manufacturing in Pennsylvania

US-based EMD Electronics, a subsidiary of German Merck KGaA, is set to bolster its North American presence by establishing a $300 million semiconductor specialty gases manufacturing facility in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. This strategic move, aimed at doubling their production capacity for critical semiconductor components, is anticipated to generate 68 job opportunities.

The endeavor enjoys financial backing from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, underscoring the state's commitment to fostering business expansion. This expansion not only highlights the industry's focus on supply chain resilience, domestic manufacturing, and emerging technologies like semiconductors for AI, IoT, and 5G, but also emphasizes the notable German origin of the company.

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Global Semiconductor Market Trends & Electronic Gases: USA, China, Europe, and Beyond

The semiconductor industry is poised to surge into a trillion-dollar arena by 2030, marking a pivotal decade for stakeholders worldwide. While the electronics sector's hunger for microchips intensifies, the complex global landscape reveals a multifaceted picture.

Rising Electronic Gases Demand in Semiconductor Industry Signals Global Market Dynamics

In a recent forecast by TECHCET, the electronic gas market is projected to experience a notable upward trajectory with a 6.4% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the next five years. This surge is attributed to the expansion of the semiconductor industry, with a specific focus on advanced logic and 3DNAND applications. The ongoing and planned fab expansions in major regions around the world are expected to drive demand for electronic gases even further, necessitating a robust supply chain to accommodate this growth.

The demand for critical gases such as diborane (B2H6) and tungsten hexafluoride (WF6) is poised to increase significantly due to their pivotal role in manufacturing various semiconductor devices, including logic ICs, DRAM, 3DNAND memory, and flash memory. This surge in demand may pose challenges to the supply chain, potentially leading to constraints.

Notably, the semiconductor industries of major players like the United States, China, Europe, Asia, and the UK are at the forefront of this demand-driven transformation. The US has witnessed significant investments from key chip manufacturers such as GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung, TSMC, Texas Instruments, and Micron Technology. Similarly, China's exponential semiconductor growth has been driven by policies like "Made in China 2050," while Europe's European Chips Act aims to bolster competitiveness and resilience.

In the UK, the launch of the National Semiconductor Strategy signals a commitment to nurturing growth in R&D, design, and compound semiconductors, highlighting the sector's global significance. Meanwhile, in Asia, disruptions in the supply chain and the Ukraine-Russia conflict have amplified concerns over the availability of crucial gases like neon and helium.

To address these concerns, the industry is exploring new gas supply sources and strategic collaborations. However, the potential for shortages in gases like Xe, Kr, NF3, and WF6 remains unless additional capacity is brought online.

TECHCET's forecast underscores the pivotal role of electronic gases in the semiconductor sector's expansion and the subsequent impact on the global market. As the industry navigates burgeoning demand and potential supply constraints, collaboration, diversification, and capacity expansion emerge as key strategies to ensure the sustained growth and competitiveness of the semiconductor industry in various regions across the globe. For more detailed insights, refer to the TECHCET Electronic Gases Market Report.

Innovating Coating Technologies: A Spotlight on Swiss Cluster's Advanced ALD Products

In the dynamic landscape of materials science and technology, Swiss Cluster emerges as a pioneering force with its cutting-edge Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) solutions. Founded by a team of experts hailing from the Swiss Federal Institute for Material Science & Technology (Empa) in Thun and Bern University of Applied Sciences, Swiss Cluster has swiftly carved a niche for itself in the field. The company's commitment to innovation and precision is evident in its diverse range of ALD products, each tailored to meet the demands of various industries and applications.

Swiss Cluster's journey began in 2019, and it officially registered as a company in November 2020. The driving force behind Swiss Cluster's success lies in the collective expertise of its team, which encompasses researchers and engineers specializing in thin films deposition techniques, vacuum and plasma deposition technologies, and materials characterization. This robust foundation has paved the way for the creation of three exceptional ALD products that are reshaping the way coatings are applied to 3D objects.

1. SC Optima Series: Elevating Coating Precision and Efficiency

The SC Optima Series stands as a testament to Swiss Cluster's commitment to innovation and efficiency. Designed as the next generation of large batch systems for ALD, this series embodies the perfect synergy of precision, speed, and uniformity. Boasting a patent-pending chamber, the SC Optima Series can seamlessly adapt to various 3D parts and coating materials. Its exceptional coating homogeneity and record process speeds are achieved through the elimination of traditional barriers like transfer arms, thanks to the single chamber approach. This innovation not only streamlines loading and unloading but also facilitates rapid temperature control, optimizing the entire process from start to finish.

2. SC-1: Redefining Coating Systems with Integration

The SC-1 redefines what's possible in coating technologies by combining ALD with Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD). This groundbreaking modular system eliminates the need for vacuum breaks, minimizing downtime and maximizing throughput. The SC-1's ability to seamlessly integrate ALD and PVD techniques within a compact framework allows for the fabrication of multinanolayered coatings. This approach improves coating quality, stability, and material properties, making it a powerful tool for industries requiring tailored functionalities and properties. The SC-1's flexibility, scalability, and quality interfaces between different layers open doors to novel materials and applications.

3. SC Qube: Precision for Research and Production

For those focused on research, development, and small-scale production, the SC Qube offers an innovative solution. With its ALD batch system, the SC Qube caters to coating various 3D parts. The system's scalable chamber can be configured to fit different types and sizes of objects while delivering exceptional coating homogeneity. The ability to integrate the SC Qube into cleanroom environments or glovebox units, along with its easy front loading and custom-made holders, makes it a versatile choice for various applications. Rapid processing, precision, and adaptability define the SC Qube's contribution to the world of coatings.

Swiss Cluster's trio of ALD products represents a journey of expertise, innovation, and a commitment to enhancing the way materials are coated. From large batch systems to integrated solutions and research-focused offerings, Swiss Cluster's ALD products cater to the unique needs of different industries. As the company continues to push boundaries and refine coating technologies, its impact on diverse sectors, from electronics to medical applications, remains profound. Swiss Cluster's dedication to revolutionizing research and production processes paves the way for novel and better materials that shape our technological future.

Home (

TSMC Marks Major Milestone: First EUV Machine Installed in Arizona Fab, Job Opportunities Open

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has achieved a significant milestone in its Arizona manufacturing venture by installing its inaugural extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) machine. This advanced machine, procured from Dutch semiconductor equipment leader ASML Holding NV, is a pivotal asset for TSMC's future high-end chip production endeavors.

EUV technology is a critical aspect of semiconductor fabrication, facilitating the printing of intricate designs on microchips significantly smaller than a human hair. TSMC's achievement underscores its commitment to innovation and technological leadership.

While the installation of the EUV machine marks a remarkable accomplishment, TSMC acknowledges that the setup of the new fab in Arizona involves numerous additional tasks. The company emphasized the need for approximately 2,000 skilled workers to handle the installation of various equipment pieces and services in the complex. This requirement stems from TSMC's unique tool configurations and specifications.

TSMC, recognized as the world's largest contract chip manufacturer, is channeling substantial investments amounting to $40 billion into constructing two wafer fabs in Phoenix. The first facility will employ the advanced 4-nanometer process, while the second, already under construction, will utilize the more sophisticated 3-nanometer process. This latter technology has already entered mass production in Taiwan.

The presence of skilled workers has been a contentious topic linked to the Arizona project. TSMC Chairman Mark Liu explained that a deficiency in experts capable of properly installing equipment at the Arizona site has led to a delay in mass production, now projected for 2025 rather than late 2024.

However, TSMC's approach to addressing this shortfall has sparked debates. The company's bid to bring in around 500 Taiwanese workers on temporary E-2 visas has faced resistance from local unions, who assert that prioritizing American jobs is paramount, especially considering the significant subsidies TSMC seeks under the CHIPS and Science Act. This legislation, signed by President Joe Biden, encourages semiconductor investments in the United States.

US Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona emphasized that the visa applications will be evaluated in accordance with established laws and procedures. As TSMC navigates these challenges, its progress in Arizona remains a focal point in the semiconductor industry's dynamic landscape.

TSMC installs first EUV machine in U.S.; job opening ads posted - Focus Taiwan

An Update on Directed Self-Assembly (DSA) for Advancing Micro and Nano Fabrication

Revolutionizing fabrication, Directed Self-Assembly (DSA) innovates micro to nano devices and materials. It leverages block co-polymer morphology for precise patterns and guides micro/nano particles, enhancing manufacturing. In semiconductors, DSA addresses lithography challenges, while Imec's research showcases DSA-EUV synergy for defect-free outcomes. Complex rectification processes, illustrated by Imec, spotlight improved Critical Dimension Uniformity and Pattern Placement Error control. As DSA advances, its collaboration with EUV promises precision, efficiency, and innovation across industries.

DSA has emerged as a groundbreaking technique for mass-producing micro to nano devices and materials with precision and efficiency. This method harnesses the inherent properties of materials to assemble them into intricate structures, revolutionizing manufacturing processes across various industries.

DSA leverages block co-polymer morphology to create patterns, enhancing feature control and shape accuracy. This involves guiding the assembly of micro and nano particles to achieve desired structures, made possible by the precise control of surface interactions and polymer thermodynamics. The key advantage of DSA is its ability to create structures at remarkably small scales, enabling advancements in diverse fields.

In the semiconductor industry, DSA offers a new perspective on lithography challenges. Despite initial setbacks, DSA is being revisited to address critical issues such as stochastic defects in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. These defects, which can contribute significantly to patterning errors, have led semiconductor manufacturers to explore DSA as a solution to rectify these problems. Notably, DSA is not replacing traditional methods but rather enhancing them. It is being integrated with existing manufacturing processes to enable increased resolution and precision, all while reducing costs.

However, challenges persist in integrating DSA into high-volume manufacturing. Defect control remains a primary concern, as the technology strives to meet industry standards of minimal defectivity. Common defects include line bridging, collapse, bubbles, and dislocations. Efforts are ongoing to optimize annealing temperature, etching methods, and film thickness to reduce these defects. Another challenge is the complexity of pattern inspection, which demands accurate metrology methods. Researchers are exploring machine learning-based approaches to automate the inspection process and achieve higher throughput.

Despite these challenges, DSA is being applied to various applications beyond semiconductors. Tissue engineering benefits from the precision of directed assembly, enabling the controlled organization of cells into desired micro-structures. In nanotechnology, DSA facilitates the creation of precise nanostructures, leading to advancements in areas such as graphene nanoribbon arrays and thin-film quantum materials.

Revolutionizing EUV Lithography with Directed Self-Assembly (DSA)

EUV lithography has revolutionized semiconductor manufacturing but comes with its share of challenges, particularly in addressing line roughness and stochastic defects. DSA has now gained attention as a potential game-changer to tackle these issues in EUV lithography.

Recent research from Imec sheds light on the promising synergy between EUV and DSA in overcoming lithography challenges. In the study titled "EUV Lithography Line Space Pattern Rectification Using Block Copolymer Directed Self-Assembly: A Roughness and Defectivity Study," led by Julie Van Bel and team, the researchers explored the combination of DSA with EUV. Their findings indicate that this integration surpasses DSA processes based on Immersion lithography, offering lower line width roughness and freedom from dislocation defects.

Another study, "Mitigating Stochastics in EUV Lithography by Directed Self-Assembly," led by Lander Verstraete and collaborators, delved into the application of DSA to mitigate stochastic defects in EUV processing.

Imec's approach to rectify defects in EUV lithography involves intricate processes, as illustrated in Figures below. In the top Figure, the team outlines the process for rectifying defects in EUV Line/Space Patterns using DSA. Meanwhile, the lower Figure details the rectification process for defects in EUV Contact Patterns.

Imec's approach to rectify defects in EUV lithography involves intricate processes, as illustrated in the figures below. In the top figure, the team outlines the process for rectifying defects in EUV Line/Space Patterns using Directed Self-Assembly (DSA). Meanwhile, the lower figure details the rectification process for defects in EUV Contact Patterns. These illustrations highlight the potential of DSA in enhancing lithographic precision, addressing challenges related to line roughness and stochastic defects, and achieving improved Local Critical Dimension Uniformity (LCDU) and Pattern Placement Error control in semiconductor manufacturing.

The results are particularly promising for line/spaces at a 28nm pitch, primarily addressing bridge defects. However, at a 24nm pitch, further improvement is necessary due to an excess of bridge defects. Notably, the type and frequency of defects correlate with the formulation of the block copolymer and the duration of the annealing process.

For contact arrays, the combination of EUV and DSA demonstrates improved Local Critical Dimension Uniformity (LCDU) and Pattern Placement Error. This advancement also enables the use of a lower dose, contributing to enhanced precision and efficiency in semiconductor manufacturing.

Imec's research underscores the potential of DSA to revolutionize EUV lithography by addressing line roughness and stochastic defects. The successful integration of EUV and DSA holds the promise of enhancing semiconductor manufacturing processes, achieving higher precision, and enabling the production of advanced devices with improved quality. As researchers continue to refine these methods, the collaboration between EUV and DSA is set to shape the future of lithography and microfabrication.

In conclusion, DSA is revitalizing micro and nano fabrication by offering accurate and efficient methods for mass production. While challenges like defect control and metrology persist, DSA's potential to shape the future of industries such as semiconductors, biomedicine, and nanotechnology is undeniable. As research continues to refine DSA processes and overcome hurdles, its role in advancing technology and innovation is set to expand further.

Directed Self-Assembly Finds Its Footing (

SPIE 2023 – imec Preparing for High-NA EUV - SemiWiki

Directed assembly of micro- and nano-structures - Wikipedia