BASF and IMEC, Europe's leading independent nanoelectronics research center, have announced today that they are extending their joint development program. The process chemicals which the two partners plan to develop as part of their extended work together will enhance the performance of cleaning chemicals in the production of semiconductors. Research will also focus on reduction of process complexity and the number of production steps.
The next phase of the joint development will be focusing on selective cleaning solutions to enable new generation of chips based on 22-nanometer (nm) technology. These solutions are used in the "Front-end-of-line" (FEOL), which is the first part of IC (Integrated Circuit) production where the individual devices (for example transistors) are patterned in the semiconductor. It is important that the cleaning solutions do not affect the metals that are used, especially in the new transistors which feature a vast number of different metal components.
The first products for the FEOL will be available in 2011.
"BASF has proven that they can present just the right chemical solution at just the right time – especially when the industry needs to overcome the challenges of manufacturing new generations of chips," says Rudi Cartuyvels, Vice President, Head of the Unit Process Technology at IMEC and adds: “The continuation of this successful joint development program is the logical consequence of the progress made to date.”
BASF already joined IMEC's affiliation program to develop innovative cleaning solutions for the semiconductor industry in 2007. “IMEC is the leading research institute in this field and is cooperating with major equipment suppliers and semiconductor producers. Combining IMEC’s strength in design of advanced device test structures and access to newest tool generations with BASF’s broad chemical and application expertise has enabled us to provide our customers with intelligent solutions for the semiconductor manufacturing processes”, says Dr. Andreas Klipp, Project Manager for Research & Development, Electronic Materials, BASF SE.
For the cleaning solutions of the SPS-AW product range, which were developed in the first phase of the cooperation, the qualification phase now starts with selected customers. From 2010 onwards, the products which reduce the process complexity significantly will be launched. “The new "all-wet stripper" liquid cleaning solutions save our customers one process step and allow them to work with even smaller geometries," says Dr. Andreas Klipp. The products now available are used in what is known as "Back-end-of-line" (BEOL). BEOL is the part of the manufacturing process for semiconductors where the active components are connected up across several levels of metal and given a final layer of passivation protection.
BASF is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic materials. The company's products and solutions of electronic materials are broadly supplied to the semiconductor, flat panel display and the solar cell industries.