Atomic Layer Deposition
Atomic Layer Deposition, or ALD, is one of our technological solutions that works at a tiny level to make a huge difference.
Champions of ALD
ASM is the leading supplier of Atomic Layer Deposition, or ALD, equipment and process solutions for semiconductor manufacturing. ALD is the most advanced deposition method in the market, making it possible to create ultra-thin films of exceptional material quality, uniformity, and conformality. ALD is among the fastest-growing segments in the wafer fab equipment market, and ASM has the broadest portfolio of ALD products and applications.
From ALD to PEALD
ASM's innovative high productivity platforms offer a wide range of thermal ALD and plasma enhanced ALD (PEALD) systems. In PEALD, plasma is used to provide the reaction energy for the process, enabling us to use lower temperatures for low-thermal budget applications. PEALD uses specific chemical precursors just like in thermal ALD. However, it also makes use of cycling an RF-plasma to create the necessary chemical reactions in a highly controlled manner.
Atomic Layer Deposition
But how does it work exactly?
1. Pulsing and purging
ALD is a surface-controlled layer-by-layer process that results in the deposition of thin films one atomic layer at a time. Layers are formed during reaction cycles by alternately pulsing precursors and reactants and purging with inert gas in between each pulse.
2. Precise control to the smallest scale
Each atomic layer formed by this sequential process is a result of saturated surface-controlled reactions, a self-limited process. The desired film thickness is achieved by repeating this cycle. Building devices atom by atom gives us very precise control over the process . Because the ALD process is self-limiting, it results in films with a precise thickness and conformality, even over varied surface topographies. It can be applied to produce different oxides, nitrides or other compounds.
3. ALD benefits
ALD provides excellent surface control and can produce thin, uniform and defect-free films over large areas by single or tailored multiple layer deposition. Nanolaminates or stacked layers of different materials can also be produced, in a straightforward manner, in the ALD reactor. Using ALD technology, we can scale devices to smaller dimensions while reducing the power consumption of transistors. This helps the industry follow Moore’s Law, and create smaller, more powerful semiconductors.
4. Ahead of the game
ALD also allows us to use materials that could not previously be considered, and develop 3D structures vital to the future of electronics. 3D technology provides several benefits, including saving space while delivering chips with higher performance that consume less power. ASM addresses a wide range of ALD applications for advanced logic and memory, including high-k metal gates, spacer dielectrics for patterning, MIM capacitors, gate spacers, high aspect ratio gap-fill, plus others. Many new applications are emerging where ALD is the technology of choice. Indeed, in some cases it is the only solution able to meet the challenging technology requirements.
Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is a surface-controlled layer-by-layer process that results in the deposition of thin films one atomic layer at a time.
EmerALD® XP ALD
EmerALD XP is a process module designed to deposit thin conformal metal and dielectric layers by atomic layer deposition (ALD) used for advanced CMOS gate stacks and other applications.
Pulsar® XP ALD
Pulsar uses ALD to deposit the high-k dielectric materials required for advanced CMOS transistor high-k metal gates and other applications. Our most advanced Pulsar reactor is the AXIS.
Synergis® is a high-productivity tool for a wide range of thermal ALD applications. The Synergis system can be configured with up to four Dual Chamber Modules (DCM), enabling eight chambers in high volume production, within a very compact footprint.
Eagle® XP8 PEALD
Eagle XP8 is a high-productivity 300mm tool for plasma-enhanced ALD (PEALD) applications. The Eagle XP8 PEALD system can be configured with up to four Dual Chamber Modules (DCM), enabling eight chambers in high volume production within a very compact footprint.
Technology and products
We have a proven track record of innovation, spanning a wide range of equipment and process technologies now used by the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers.
Epitaxy, often called Epi, is the process of depositing highly controlled silicon-based crystalline films, a critical process technology for creating advanced transistors and memories, and for wafer manufacturing.
Process equipment for epitaxial deposition of silicon carbide (SiC) is a fast-growing market, mostly due to the material’s benefits for electric vehicles. With our history in epitaxy equipment, this is a natural fit for our line-up.
PECVD is another process solution we offer to deposit dielectric thin films at relatively low temperatures.
Vertical furnaces offer very high productivity solutions for a wide range of thermal processes including low pressure chemical vapor deposition (LPCVD), diffusion and oxidation.