Advanced Micro-Fabrication Equipment Inc. (AMEC) said today that it has developed a Single-Station Chamber Advanced Dielectric Etcher (Primo SSC AD-RIE™) capable of processing the most rigorous semiconductor applications.
In less than 12 months, the Primo SSC AD-RIE system was qualified by a leading Korean semiconductor manufacturer for critical Flash applications at 20nm and below. The customer has since placed an order for the tool and is now qualifying it for 15nm applications. The new etcher embodies the innovations contained in AMEC's dual-station chamber Primo D-RIE etch platform which is already well entrenched in leading memory and logic fabs across Asia.
The technology achievement marks an inflection point for AMEC -- China's largest provider of capital equipment for global manufacturers of semiconductors and LEDs. With operations and R&D centered in Shanghai, and global sales and marketing in Singapore, the company is led by a team of semiconductor equipment experts from Silicon Valley and Asia. Today's milestone validates AMEC's capability to provide highly competitive tools and technology solutions for customers' most advanced device requirements. More importantly, it places the company in an elite group of Etch leaders comprised of a handful of US and Japanese players.
Beyond Korea, companies in Taiwan, Japan and other regions are expressing interest in the Primo SSC AD-RIE etcher. This is not unexpected. The extreme challenges of dry etching at 20nm and below has virtually excluded small etch players from the vendor pool, allowing just a few leaders to dominate. The Primo SSC AD-RIE changes that dynamic and offers the industry an alternative new choice. AMEC is now preparing to engage in wafer demonstration runs. The company is also working with select customers on 15nm Flash memory and VNAND process development.
To support its Korean customers and further expand business in the region, AMEC Korea will establish a local Research and Development center this year.
AMEC Chairman and CEO Gerald Z. Yin paid tribute to the Korean customer for its close collaboration. Such collaboration is essential for the development of advanced technology that solves difficult technical problems. He added, "AMEC recognizes the importance of investing in a local hub to provide exceptional service to our Korean customers. With this in mind, we are accelerating our Korean localization plan and boosting it with elements that include intellectual property protection, as well as onsite product enhancement initiatives and responsive field support."
Commenting further on AMEC's localization strategy for Korea, KI Yoon, General Manager for Korea, added, "We're diligently developing local supply sources and seeking reliable collaboration partners not just for Korea, but for the global market as well. This will enable us to provide supply pathways to Korean customers with fabs in Korea who are also constructing fabs in China. On the technology front, we continue to innovate solutions to address the technical priorities of our Korean customers' and others worldwide. This includes development of a third-generation CCP oxide etcher and ICP etcher, as well as 450mm product lines."
Primo SSC AD-RIE is a trademark of AMEC.