SPHERE Series Plasma Systems for Wafer Processing

The SPHERE series plasma systems from Nordson MARCH are ideal for wafer processing prior to the routine back-end packaging steps, and also for wafer-level packaging, wafer fan out, 3D packaging, flip-chip, and conventional packaging.

The patented chamber design and control architecture allows short plasma cycle times with extremely low overhead, thereby ensuring maximization of the throughput for the customer’s application and reduction in the cost of ownership.

The SPHERE series systems promote automated processing and handling of round or square substrate/wafer with sizes varying from 75 to 300 mm. Moreover, it is possible to perform thin wafer processing with or without carriers, depending upon the thickness of the wafer.

The patented plasma chamber design ensures excellent process repeatability and uniformity of etching. Important plasma applications include an array of etching, ashing, and descum steps.

Other plasma processes include Increasing wettability, contamination removal, surface roughening, and enhancing dielectric etch, bonding and adhesion strength, wafer bumping, organic contamination removal, wafer destress, and photoresist/polymer stripping.

Wafer Cleaning: The SPHERE series plasma systems get rid of contamination before wafer bumping, eliminate organic contamination, eliminate fluorine and other halogen contamination, and get rid of metal and metal oxides. Plasma also cleans metallic bond pads and improves spun-on film adhesion.

Wafer Etching: Plasma systems pattern dielectric layers for redistribution, descum residual photoresist and BCB from wafer, enhance wafer applied materials adhesion, etch/strip photoresist, optimize gold solder bumps adhesion, remove excess wafer applied mold/epoxy, improve spun-on film adhesion, minimize breakage by destressing wafer, and clean aluminum bond pads.

Models and Configurations

StratoSPHERE™ Plasma System: Designed for processing semiconductor wafers with a diameter of up to 300 mm (12″) with high throughput. The patented plasma chamber design provides excellent process repeatability and etch uniformity. It is provided with a three-axis symmetrical chamber that ensures consistent treatment of all areas of the wafer, and at the same time, repeatable results are ensured by stringent control over all process parameters.

  • Modular design enables single or dual-chamber system configuration
  • Transition reduced from 200 to 300 mm wafers through software-controlled change-over
  • Exclusive end-effector design has the potential to transfer a range of wafer weights and thicknesses
  • Load ports for supporting 300 mm FOUP or 200 mm open cassettes
  • Plasma distribution is directly isolated above the wafer by chamber kits, thus optimizing uniformity and throughput
  • Backside or edge-grip transfer of wafer supported by production-ready wafer handling

MesoSPHERE™ Plasma System: The MesoSPHERE™ Plasma System is ideal for very high-throughput processing of substrates or wafers with thicknesses of up to 480 mm, regardless of whether it is fan-in, fan-out, panel-level, or wafer-level. It is equipped with field-proven plasma chambers along with a cutting-edge handling system with the ability to transfer round or square substrates and bonded or frame carriers.

Built based on the patented F3 symmetrical chamber design, all areas of the substrate are equally treated, thereby guaranteeing superior wafer-to-wafer and within wafer uniformity.

  • Accurate substrate placement and centering ensured by pocket chuck design, thereby increasing process repeatability
  • Modular design enables an increase in capacity on a per plasma chamber basis
  • Configurable for wafer-on-frame wafer, and square/round substrates with thicknesses of up to 480 mm
  • One to four plasma chambers are supported by EFEM integration
  • Plasma distribution is directly isolated above the wafer by plasma confinement technology, thereby reducing unwanted secondary reactions

Option: Plasma Confinement Ring

The etching process is accelerated by the Plasma Confinement Ring by focusing the plasma directly over a wafer, thus offering even plasma coverage and isolating the plasma on the wafer itself rather than on the area around or below it. Since the ring promotes the etch rate capability and the need to increase the electrode temperature or to add bias to the chuck is eliminated, it is possible to maintain the process temperatures as low as possible.

The aluminum-to-aluminum plasma conduction path is restricted to the wafer area; however, the ring is made with an insulated, non-conductive material. There is a gap of 2 mm between the ring and the wafer frame and adhesive tape.

Since plasma generation or plasma does not occur at the base of the adhesive tape and wafer, undercutting and delaminating are minimized and sputtering or deposition of adhesive tape on the wafer surface is eliminated. The total chamber volume is reduced to merely the area over the wafer. It is available for the SPHERE series from Nordson MARCH.

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