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SEZ solution streamlines FEOL photoresist-strip processes

Posted: 12 Jul 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SEZ Group?

The SEZ Group announced that it has developed a novel chemical process that will streamline front-end-of-line (FEOL) photoresist-strip processes. SEZ's proprietary Enhanced Sulfuric Acid (ESA) strip process can employ a range of sulfuric acid-based chemistries to greatly reduce the number of steps in photoresist-removal processes typically performed, until now, in an asher or in a batch environment: photoresist rework, post-etch and implant-resist removal, and residue removal following plasma ashing.

Working closely with key customers, SEZ leveraged its single-wafer expertise to develop a flexible, all-wet-chemistry approach that eliminates the need for plasma and removes defects at high temperatures. According to the company, single-wafer tools offer a number of advantages over batch tools with better defective control (less transfer of particles from wafer to wafer or from one side of a wafer to the other), better process control (improved uniformity and minimized substrate loss), and optimal usage of consumables (single-wafer tools can recirculate chemical media).

The company's ESA strip process employs the use of an enhanced sulfuric acid clean at temperatures up to 140C. To date, the process has successfully removed both i-line and deep-ultraviolet resists, as well as those containing a wide range of implant ions. Typical process times are extremely quick and produce low defectiveness on both the front and backside of the wafer. Coupled with its ability to re-circulate chemistry and low consumables consumption, these capabilities enable the ESA strip process to potentially deliver significant cost-of-ownership improvements. In addition, said SEZ, the new FEOL approach delivers all of the key benefits associated with single-wafer wet technology, such as shorter cycle times, reduced defectivity, more economic use of process chemicals, minimal substrate damage, and expected improvements in overall cost of ownership.

"The combination of the ESA strip process and our forthcoming FEOL platform will create a fast-throughput, high-performance solution that enables photoresist removal and residue clean-up in one flexible, single-wafer tool," said Kurt Lackenbucher, executive vice president and COO for the SEZ Group, in a statement. "This represents the next strategic step along our technology roadmap focused on anticipating customer needs to facilitate the deployment of single-wafer technology throughout the entire fab."

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