Semiconductor industry analyst and CEO of VLSIresearch Inc., G. Dan Hutcheson published a video assessment of the Producer® Selectra™ etch system Applied introduced in June.
In the video, he discusses how the tool is radically different and why extreme selectivity is so important for the industry.
According to Dan, etch technology has become a roadblock for the industry but the new tool represents a major solution. What makes the Selectra system a powerful technology for chip makers is the array of critical problems it solves for manufacturing next-generation devices.
Among the etch challenges the Selectra system addresses is the atomic level precision control needed for new FinFET designs with very small features and tight, narrow spaces. Eventually when manufacturers move to new device architectures such as a Gate-All-Around scheme, they will require extreme selectivity to excavate materials to form the transistor channels of tomorrow. In the memory space, as NAND devices convert to 3D architectures, materials-enabled scaling is needed to build increasingly complex vertical multi-layer stacks. For DRAM, a gentle dry process is crucial to keep ever thinner, fragile structures from collapsing. By providing this level of precision and selectivity, the Selectra system enables patterning schemes that help create entirely new architectures for future device generations.
The new tool’s technical breakthrough is in providing a radical-based, dry chemical process with the selectivity to enable etching “what you want, where you want it to.” Dan makes the case that the Selectra system is arguably the most innovative new etcher since the 1980s, bringing together a compelling combination of materials engineering and manufuacturing technology.
While the mainstay applications of the MEMS segment continue to be strong performers, 2016 saw a big push toward lots of new and potentially high-volume MEMS devices. This presents many exciting opportunities, but the challenges are plenty.