Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. Launches Second-Generation Etch Tool for 22nm and Beyond Critical Process Requirements

This week at SEMICON West, Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC) will launch the Primo AD-RIE™ tool - the company's second-generation 300mm very high frequency Advanced Decoupled Reactive Ion Etch (AD-RIE) system for 22nm and beyond critical process requirements. Leveraging the field-proven capabilities of the earlier Primo D-RIE™ tool, the Primo AD-RIE features technical innovations to tackle the challenges that complicate the production of leading-edge film stacks, while ensuring superior on-wafer performance. They include: an advanced RF system for process stability and repeatability; better tunability techniques for ultra-fine Critical Dimension(CD) uniformity, and enhanced chamber materials for higher yields and lower defects.

Like its predecessor, the Primo AD-RIE delivers a capital productivity gain of 35 to 50 percent when compared to the industry standard. Overall cost of ownership is reduced by 20 to 40 percent. A compact footprint -- at least 30 percent smaller than the largest competitive system -- completes the solution, making the Primo AD-RIE the most productive and capital-efficient advanced etch tool on the market today.

Tool shipments will begin in the third quarter. The first Primo AD-RIE will go to a tier-one foundry in Asia. The earlier Primo D-RIE tool will continue to be used for all applications above 22nm, and for non-critical applications at 22nm and beyond.

The new tool hits the market at a challenging time for fab managers. Relentless scaling and the integration of new materials present technical obstacles, while escalating capex costs are impacting margins. For etch tool vendors, this means innovating process solutions that are advanced, robust and reliable, but also uncomplicated and capital-efficient. This is AMEC's sweet spot. And it's why more than 30 AMEC tools are positioned today at nine customer sites in Asia. This includes every top foundry in the world. To keep pace with demand, AMEC is currently expanding its manufacturing capacity in China. Also this year, the company will complete a new final assembly and test facility in Zhunan, Taiwan.

"While customers still want the newest and most advanced process technologies, they are more cost-sensitive than ever," said Michael Chu, Vice President of AMEC's Etch Product Business Group. "The Primo AD-RIE offers the optimal combination of technology innovations and capital productivity for advanced critical processes. This means customers can tackle aggressive process targets with virtually no productivity sacrifice. We are already experiencing strong interest in the tool from established and new customers."

The Primo AD-RIE: Building on Technology Innovations Embodied in the Primo D-RIE Tool

The Primo AD-RIE boosts the technology innovations of AMEC's first-generation etch system, while greatly expanding its process reach. Central to the tool is a novel mini-batch cluster architecture that can be flexibly configured with up to three dual-station process modules for optimum throughput. Each module is capable of dual- or- single-wafer processing. A unique chamber design that incorporates proprietary plasma confinement and showerhead technology enables superior on-wafer performance. Several essential features further equip the tool for sub-28nm critical process requirements. They include: 2-13.5Mhz switchable RF in addition to the existing 60MHz RF, for a much wider process window; unique RF input with symmetrical power distribution for more uniform plasma density, and triple-zone gas distribution with dual tuning gases for fine etch uniformity tuning. A novel ESC enhances wafer temperature control and further optimizes CD uniformity.

System Features and Advantages:

·Decoupled, dual-frequency RIE that enables independent ion density and energy control for effective process control knobs;

·Symmetrically distributed and direct RF feed for VHF RF that enables precise control for repeatable results in a high-volume production environment;

·Proprietary, plasma confinement that enables process stability with high flow conductance for a wide process window;

·Independent RF onboard uniformity control unit and endpoint control per station that enables each wafer to run in a single-chamber environment;

·Bottom-powered, high-frequency RF that enables stable, low pressure, high plasma density strip to preserve the integrity of low-k materials;

·Proprietary, self-isolated RF match for quick, repeatable frequency-tuning capability;

·High-purity, plasma-resistant chamber materials for near-zero defectivity and low cost of consumables;

·Direct resistive top electrode heating with closed-loop control that enables precise and speedy temperature control for consistent wafer processing;

·Mini-batch cluster architecture - featuring up to six single-wafer process stations that delivers excellent throughput in a smaller footprint;

·Modular system architecture for easy installation and maintenance.

About Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment, Inc. (AMEC)

AMEC provides advanced micro-fabrication equipment to global semiconductor manufacturers and leading companies in adjacent high-tech sectors. Customers use our Etch technology to build the complex devices that power today's electronics and other products. Our advanced systems deliver the optimum combination of technology innovations and productivity for the 65/45/32/28/22nm process nodes and beyond. We're Asia-based with headquarters in China. We also maintain R&D, manufacturing, business and support operations in Japan, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. To learn more, please visit

Primo D-RIE and Primo AD-RIE are registered trademarks of AMEC.

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