We’ve been innovators from the moment we were founded by visionary entrepreneur Arthur del Prado to the present day. It’s in our company genes. Across the world, the semiconductor industry’s top manufacturers recognize us worldwide as a leader in innovation. With a proven track record of nearly 50 years of breakthroughs, we’re trusted to make significant advances in support of the industry’s technology roadmap. Helping to create a better future for everyone.
DRIVE INNOVATION, DELIVER EXCELLENCE
Our innovations create solutions to complex issues needing resolution to advance semiconductor technology. To create them, our researchers and product development professionals work tirelessly in conjunction with our research partners to drive the process forward. As soon as our innovation process demonstrates a viable solution, our development organization delivers excellence in the form of reliable process equipment for high-volume semiconductor manufacturing.
We maintain a technology road map that takes into account the needs of our customers over the next few years, matches that to our research and provides a clear way forward. Above all, it works. Our approach delivers results. Bringing processes like Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) from R&D through to manufacturing at advanced customer sites.
We listen to our customers to understand, in detail, the precise technology challenges facing them on their roadmaps. Then we get to work, guided by our unique three-pronged innovation model:
- Basic Materials and Process R&D
- Process Integration Testing
- Product Development
The first level, Basic R&D, is located at ASM Microchemistry in Helsinki, Finland. Here our team of researchers performs analysis and feasibility tests on new materials and chemistries in search of fundamental solutions.
Next the viable candidate solutions are tested in process integration studies at one of our research partner facilities where full devices can be created. Our research partners include Interuniversity Microelectronics Center (IMEC) in Leuven, Belgium.
The third level takes place at one of our product development centers where the final equipment is developed for volume manufacturing of the advanced innovation solution. Our core product development centers are located in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, for Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and Epitaxy; Tokyo, Japan, for Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition (PECVD); Cheonan, S. Korea for Plasma-Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposition (PEALD); and Almere, the Netherlands, for vertical furnaces.
ASM people working at all three of these levels join forces to discover new materials and processes in time to enable important industry solutions. We then integrate those solutions in a device and develop the products in time to deliver the solutions for volume manufacturing for our customers.
INNOVATING WITH HAFNIUM HIGH-K
A recent example of our successful innovation process was the introduction of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) hafnium based high-k gate dielectric layers into volume manufacturing at the 45nm node.
Up until that time, the material for gate dielectrics was silicon dioxide. But transistor dimensional shrinking to comply with Moore’s Law caused the gate dielectric layer to become too thin. The silicon dioxide gate could not hold back the electrons when the transistor was switched off. Like a tap dripping when it was supposed to be turned off, the gate leaked too much.
An alternative higher k-value material was needed to prevent Moore’s Law from grinding to a halt. The switch to ALD hafnium high-k was an ASM innovation that followed the three-pronged innovation model to bring it from our R&D in Finland right into our customer’s semiconductor fabrication plants. This enabled the transistors on semiconductors to continue to shrink while delivering better performance without increasing power consumption.