FREMONT, USA: Owens Design Inc., a leading design and manufacturing service provider to the semiconductor, data storage and solar capital equipment markets, announced that it has received additional follow-on orders for its turnkey wafer pre-heating and cooling module from a leading Silicon Valley semiconductor OEM.
The Owens Design BOLTS-compatible module preheats the wafer prior to placement inside the customer's process chamber, thereby improving system throughput through the reduction of process chamber heating overhead. The module also has the ability to cool post-processed hot wafers prior to cassette placement. The resulting overall throughput increase leads to a direct reduction of overall tool cost of ownership.
"Tool cost of ownership (CoO) is a significant factor in semiconductor capital equipment purchasing decisions and process throughput is a key CoO metric. Pre-heating the wafer outside the process chamber gives the customer a significant boost in process throughput, thereby helping making the customer's technology more competitive," said Bob Fung, Engineering Director for Owens Design.
"The Owens Design wafer heating and cooling module is designed to be a cost-effective, easily integrated wafer pre-heating solution that directly helps the customer achieve CoO goals and help reduce time to market."
The Owens Design's pre-heating and cooling module uses resistive heating elements that achieve better than 2 degrees Celsius uniformity wafer-to-wafer and is capable of heating a wafer up to 450 degrees Celsius in less than 15 seconds. A modular unit, the module can be integrated either standalone, or via a BOLTS compatible interface using either Ethernet or serial connections.
Custom hardware interfaces and communication protocol are also available. A water-cooled paten can be integrated into the module without changing its footprint, and process gases can be introduced into both the hot and cold processes as an extra option.
The module minimizes particulate contamination (< 1@ 0.1 micronm, PWP front side and < 1,400 @ 0.2 micronm, PWP backside). The module is highly reliable (MTBF > 20,000 hours, MTTR < 2 hours). Other than periodic cleaning, the module requires no regular maintenance.
"Contamination has become a much more critical issue with the introduction of 300 mm polished substrates," said Ernie Evans, Owens Design's Program Manager. "Developing a cost-effective pre-heating and cooling module that minimizes wafer contamination can be a very challenging process. Integrating our turnkey module into a process tool enables our customers to focus on their core technologies, reduce development costs and speed their time to market."