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Semicon preview: Startup, TSV tools to emerge

July 07, 2010 // Mark LaPedus

Semicon preview: Startup, TSV tools to emerge

The Semicon West trade show starts next week, but the craze has already begun.

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Fab tool vendors EV Group, Intermolecular, Qcept, Vantage and Verigy have already announced new products or deals before the show. Vantage is a new startup in the fab tool arena.

Applied, Lam, Novellus and others are readying new tools for use in emerging 3-D chip designs. Applied is expected to enter the MOCVD segment with a hybrid tool. Semicon West runs from July 13-15 in San Francisco, Calif.

At Semicon, the hot topics will include 3-D devices, LEDs, solar, and, of course, chip scaling. And unlike last year's event, the fab tool market is hot. IC-equipment sales are now expected to grow 96 percent in 2010, compared to 83 percent in the previous upgrade, according to VLSI Research Inc.

At Semicon, Applied Materials Inc. is expected to roll out its long-awaited, hybrid MOCVD tool. ''We believe that AMAT will formally announce a LED tool during Semicon. AMAT has been working with at least six vendors and has recognized revenue from at least one of the vendors, likely for its hydride vapor phase epitaxy tool,'' said C.J. Muse, an analyst with the Barclays Capital, in a recent report.

''AMAT is likely to introduce a cluster tool with 2 MOCVD + 1 HVPE tool, with the MOCVD tool still under development, but able to run demos. As a result of the timing though, AMAT is likely to miss the current boom that Aixtron and Veeco are enjoying related to LED backlighting application,'' Muse said. ''One of the features of the cluster tool is likely to be in-situ cleaning that would reduce potential defects in the active layer.''

Through-silicon-via (TSV) will be a hot topic at Semicon. Applied, Novellus and Lam will roll out products in the arena.

''Novellus is likely to release a solution that includes copper deposition (but a reactor that can handle higher amount of ECP), a conformal flow dielectric and Inova PVD,'' Muse said. ''Lam will possibly release a cheaper bulk etch solution for TSV. In addition Lam might also release cobalt tungsten phosphide product (not connected with TSV) based on Blue 29 purchase from KLA-Tencor.''
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