Top European R&D Organizations Place Order for SPTS Technologies’ Etch Solutions

SPTS Technologies, a supplier of advanced wafer processing solutions for the global semiconductor industry and related markets, today announced it has received multiple orders from several of the Europe's leading research and development (R&D) institutions, including the Delft Institute of Microsystems & Nanoelectronics (DIMES), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institut FEMTO-ST (Franche-Comté Electronique Mécanique Thermique et Optique - Sciences et Technologies) and IEF (Institut d'Electronique Fondamentale).

Each customer selected SPTS equipment for its process flexibility, extendibility, and long-term application potential.

Dimes is a research institute within the Delft University of Technology with cleanroom facilities where submicron electronics and MEMS technologies are combined to fabricate micro systems. Applications are medical (flexible chips in catheters), nano-instrumentation (integrated microfluidic jet systems, sensors), infrastructure (integrated radars) and energy (smart lighting). The Omega i2L Rapier system will be essential for wafer-deep etches of micromechanical structures and through silicon vias with vertical or tapered sidewalls. The selection of this system was driven by the need for a reliable DRIE system, able to fulfill the stringent process requirements.

Swiss research institute EPFL chose SPTS's advanced physical source (APS) to focus on dielectric etching. Of particular interest is controlling sidewall quality for shallow optical waveguides in silicon nitride and also etching 40µm deep trenches into fused silica glass. The APS is characterized by a plasma density that is typically ten times higher than conventional inductively-coupled plasma (ICP) reactors, making the module well suited to etch strongly-bonded materials such as glass, and even tougher materials like silicon carbide (SiC) and sapphire.

France-based institute IEF will use their etch system for two dissimilar silicon processes - the first application involves fabricating nano trenches 80nm wide at >5:1 aspect ratio and with super smooth sidewalls (with a roughness of <6nm), with the second, a 50µm feature at 400µm deep. IEF awarded the business to SPTS following a successful demonstration which saw its Pegasus Rapier process module perform to these rigorous requirements using a single hardware set-up.

The French research organization Institut Femto-ST chose the Pegasus Rapier for their optics, sensor and actuator device development. During the evaluation process, SPTS satisfied stringent process specifications to win the business.

Both Femto-ST and IEF are members of RENATECH, the French national network of large technological facilities.

"Our customers each carried out extensive testing activities across multiple competing vendors, running demonstrations on critical applications and bench-marking technical capabilities, system functionality, and cost," said Dr. Dave Thomas , marketing director for etch products at SPTS. "These wins demonstrate SPTS is meeting its commitment to satisfy the demanding requirements of the world's most prolific R&D organizations.  It is through this type of collaboration that new production applications will emerge."


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