Novellus Systems (NASDAQ: NVLS) today
introduced the SABRE Excel, an advanced copper electroplating system designed
to provide industry-leading fill and defect density performance for the 22nm
technology node and beyond. SABRE Excel builds upon the production-proven SABRE,
a platform already employed in the manufacture of more than 80 percent of the
world's copper interconnect devices. The SABRE Excel platform features a new
deposition module incorporating Novellus' patented IRISCell technology, as well
as new hardware, software and communications upgrades to the process tool's
mainframe. Additionally, an advanced plating process has been developed for
SABRE Excel to take advantage of these new, innovative features.
The new feature set addresses the key challenges associated with scaling copper
electroplating to the 22nm technology node. In order to address device reliability
concerns at these advanced geometries, the industry is trending towards the
use of very thin alloy PVD seed layers. While thicker PVD seed layers can cause
copper voiding, thinner seed layers result in increased seed resistance, making
it difficult to achieve the uniform current density required for consistent
feature fill during the initial stages of electrochemical deposition (ECD).
Novellus' IRISCell technology eliminates this issue by employing patented field
shaping elements that enable dynamic current modulation during the deposition
process. Thin PVD seeds also create a challenge for uniform nucleation of the
copper film. To address this problem, SABRE Excel's new plating process, called
Multiwave entry, provides millisecond control of the voltage profile during
the initial stages of copper deposition.
In addition to the hardware advances designed to address thin seed challenges,
the SABRE Excel platform introduces a number of innovative new features targeted
at meeting the defect and yield requirements for 22nm. The propensity for "killer"
defects has been dramatically reduced using a proprietary, low-corrosion electrolyte.
The number of chips per wafer has also been improved by increasing the usable
die area through a reduction of the process edge exclusion to only 1mm.
"We are confident that the SABRE Excel system will serve as the new benchmark
of copper ECD for advanced technology nodes," said Sesha Varadarajan, vice
president and general manager of Novellus' Electrofill business unit. "The
results we have achieved with the new IRISCell and Multiwave entry technologies
have driven several of the industry's leading manufacturers to place orders
for the system with shipments beginning in Q4 of this year."