Dr. Robert Castellano, The Information Network
NEW TRIPOLI, USA: The film deposition equipment market for semiconductor manufacturing was down 38 percent in 2009, but on a sector-by-sector basis, sales dropped between 8.7 percent to 71.7 percent, according to The Information Network's report: Thin Film Deposition: Trends, Key Issues, Market Analysis.
The huge variation in sector non-growth is attributed to the transition to copper damascene processing from aluminum interconnects for memory devices. The adoption of copper in memory devices is currently under way, and all memory suppliers, led by Samsung, spent huge sums of money upgrading as many of their lines as they could to copper and this change had an important impact on purchases of copper deposition equipment and materials in 2009.
The deposition equipment business has become highly selective, and certain types of equipment work better or a given technology or device than others. For example,
HDP is a technology which can do gapfill. For subtractive Al technology, in which you lay down a slab of Al, etch it into lines, and then fill the gaps with oxide, these technologies do well.
In the Cu dual damascene scheme, the dielectric is laid down as a planar film, etched, and the gaps are filled with metal. Thus, the metal deposition technology needs to be able to do gapfill, not the dielectric. PECVD is the technology of choice. In fact, there are more than twenty PECVD processing steps required to fabricate a typical memory device.
The growth of the PVD market was strong for the deposition of the copper barrier metal, which is typically a bi-layer of Ta/TaN, or TiN. However, the transition to memory presents challenges. As feature size continues to shrink, a thinner barrier metal is required to maximize copper volume in the damascene structure and maintain effective resistivity. Ultra-thin barrier metals must achieve optimum step coverage, density, and morphology in high aspect ratio trenches and vias.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced on Monday (May 17) that it would double its capital spending to boost its capacity in semiconductor and flat-panel display manufacturing. How that plays out in the thin film deposition equipment market is addressed in the report.