Semiconductor Equipment Assessment – An Enabler for Production Ready Equipment

M. Pfeffer, A. Bauer
Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology (IISB),
Germany

Keywords: equipment, assessment, semiconductor, manufacturing

Summary:

Semiconductor devices today show a ubiquitous presence and are of strategic importance. The manufactured number of transistors per area is still growing along a semi-logarithmic plot over the years. However, Europe‘s position as a supplier of integrated circuits and as a supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment and materials has changed significantly over the past decades. The number of IC-manufacturing sites in Europe has remained almost constant - whereas other regions have grown heavily. Concerning products, a strong paradigm shift has occurred. In fact, the number of leading edge IC–manufacturers has globally decreased, not only in Europe. Nevertheless, a new spectrum of devices is rapidly growing and can be summarized under More-than-Moore (MtM) devices, power devices and 3D devices. Such semiconductor devices require a paradigm shift in materials, manufacturing, and equipment development to overcome the valley of death. As IC manufacturing is heavily influenced by equipment procurement and operating costs, an effective equipment development, assessment and transfer of new generation 200 mm/300 mm and 450 mm equipment into the production lines is required. This paper will present advances in equipment research, in metrology equipment research, in improved collaboration strategies between equipment suppliers and end-users and in better controlled and smart manufacturing. Focus is laid on the Semiconductor Equipment Assessment activities in Europe, which enable rapid introduction of advanced equipment prototypes into IC manufacturing. In addition to processing equipment, metrology is an enabling and indispensable technique for the realization of new semiconductor technologies. Research and development efforts as well as collaboration on a global level will have to be invested in equipment improvements and innovations addressing key importance areas. These are equipment challenges for MtM (200 mm/300 mm) and equipment challenges for More Moore (MM) (300 mm/450 mm) consisting of, e.g. handling improvement, Advanced Process Control (APC), comprehensive virtual metrology and innovative maintenance strategies, optimized ultra-low relative energy consumption, reduction of consumables and operating materials, their re-use and regeneration as well as waste free or waste reduced processing. Joint equipment assessment may provide large benefit for fast ramp-up, introduction in pilot production, and implementation in high-volume manufacturing. A detailed presentation of history, recent and current projects in the area of Semiconductor Equipment Assessment in Europe will reveal the scope, objective and resulting benefit of the SEA project. The importance on a horizontal and vertical collaboration in a global perspective will be worked out by More Moore as well as More-than-Moore applications being considered.