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STS and XACTIX Launch a New XeF2 Etch System for MEMS Release in Volume Production

2008-07-29 17:00:00

STS and XACTIX Launch a New XeF2 Etch System for MEMS Release in Volume Production

    NEWPORT, Wales, July 29 /EMWNews/ -- Surface Technology Systems and

XACTIX are pleased to announce the immediate availability of a new Chemical

Vapor Etch (CVE) module for xenon difluoride (XeF2) gas. XACTIX and STS

have cooperated to create a breakthrough chamber design and improved wafer

handling to ensure the high throughput, uniformity, efficiency and uptime

required to make XeF2 a viable process for high volume production.

    XeF2 is a fast isotropic etchant of silicon, without plasma excitation,

and has a high selectivity for silicon compared with a vast array of other

materials commonly used in CMOS and other semiconductor applications. One

of the main applications of XeF2 etching is the release of MEMS structures

using a sacrificial silicon release layer. As a dry process, XeF2 etching

eliminates device damage caused by agitation or stiction, often associated

with wet etching. Together with low or non-existent attack on other

semiconductor materials, the process results in increased yield, lower

fabrication costs and higher performance devices.

    David Springer, President of XACTIX explained, "Previously, in order to

improve cross-wafer uniformity it was necessary to lower gas pressures and

flows, or introduce a carrier gas. Lower gas pressures and flows reduce

etch rates and throughput, while carrier gasses reduce efficiency and

significantly increase operating costs. This new chamber design

encapsulates the wafer in a smaller, symmetrical chamber which results in a

very uniform and highly concentrated flow of gas over the wafer."

    Eizo Yasui, CEO of STS stated, "By combining the expertise of both

companies, we have succeeded in developing a unique XeF2 process tool which

offers customers significant competitive advantages for volume production

applications. Our CVE module has been through extensive testing, and the

first order for a three module cluster tool has been received and will be

shipped this summer."

    About XACTIX, Inc.

    XACTIX designs and manufactures etchers which use xenon difluoride gas

to isotropically etch silicon, molybnium and germanium. This dry, gas phase

etch provides high selectivity, high etch rates and long undercuts while

providing high selectivity over the majority of semiconductor materials.

While primarily used as a MEMS release etch, XACTIX also serves a number of

emerging applications in the wider semiconductor industry. XACTIX is the

overwhelming market leader for xenon difluoride etch systems serving both

R&D and production applications. It serves markets worldwide through its

own distribution network and with partner companies such as STS.

    For more information please see

    About Surface Technology Systems plc

    STS designs and manufactures a range of highly specialized systems

incorporating innovative technology used in the production of

semiconductors and related devices and is a leader in plasma based etch and

deposition technologies. STS serves a range of applications within the

telecommunications, data storage, advanced packaging, MEMS and

nanotechnology markets.

    STS is the market leader in deep silicon etching for the growing MEMS

market, offering patent-protected technology. In addition, STS has a strong

presence in each of its other served markets and distributes its process

solutions worldwide through an experienced sales and service operation. The

Group currently markets in over 30 countries and has an installed base of

over 1000 systems.

    For more information about STS please see

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