Our technology & products
Our equipment is a key technology for the semiconductor integrated-circuit chips needed to make the electronics products that consumers and businesses use everywhere. Our products solve important issues on the semiconductor industry’s technology roadmap. Helping to make integrated circuits (or chips) smaller, faster and more powerful.
50+ years of supplying leading deposition equipment
965+ people working in R&D
2600+ patents in force
8 R&D centers
Technology and products
We have a proven track record of innovation, spanning a wide range of equipment and process technologies used by the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers.
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.
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.
Discover the chip-making process
From sand to silicon
It all starts with one simple, common substance – sand. The silicon found in sand is in the form of silicon dioxide. To make chips, manufacturers need pure silicon. That's why the first step in the process is to separate the silicon from the oxygen molecules.
The silicon is then extracted, or pulled, from liquid silicon in the form of long cylindrical ingots at roughly 1400°C. Wafers are cut from the cooled ingots before being polished to produce a smooth surface. They’re then sent to chip manufacturers for processing. For some wafers (used for advanced devices), ASM equipment deposits an epitaxial silicon layer to improve the electrical characteristics of the starting wafer.
Deposition on a wafer
The bare silicon wafers are now ready to be processed into semiconductor circuit layouts. The first step is to form a silicon oxide layer that protects the silicon wafer during the following process steps. This layer is made in an ASM vertical furnace by exposing the wafer to oxygen at high temperatures. Next, another furnace deposits a silicon nitride layer using Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (LPCVD), functioning as an etch stop in subsequent patterning steps. The ASM LPCVD reactor design enables uniform layer thickness and composition.
Lithography, etching and ALD
Once the circuit layout has been designed, glass plates or masks are created which help copy the design onto the surface of the wafer using photolithography equipment. The wafer is coated with photoresist that changes when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light shining above the mask reacts with the exposed parts of the photoresist, creating a pattern. The wafer is then covered with a developing solution to develop these patterns. After that, they're etched, leaving the parts not exposed to UV light intact. The surface now contains trenches that run across the surface. For the most advanced nodes, ASM PEALD systems are used for a technique called spacer-defined multiple patterning which enables very small linewidth resolutions.
Repeating steps to add layers
After patterns are created and etched, ASM deposition equipment, including ALD, epitaxy, LPCVD Vertical Furnace, and PECVD, is used to fill in the desired thin-film materials. Hundreds of different thin-film layers are deposited to make a chip. Various additional process steps are needed to complete each layer such as cleaning, thermal treatments, and planarization. These sequential process steps are repeated many times to add all the layers that complete the chip.
Assembly, testing, and packaging
Once wafer processing has been completed, the finished wafers are transported to another plant for cutting, assembly, and packaging. The individual wafers are cut into separate individual chips. Chips are then placed in a lead frame that forms a protective housing. Each chip is tested before being packaged to be sent for placement on circuit boards.
A variety of applications
Our equipment is essential to produce the electronic products that consumers and businesses use everywhere, from the highly specialized to the everyday. In doing so, our products enable the semiconductor industry to overcome important hurdles on their technology roadmap, by assisting them to make chips that are smaller, faster and more powerful.
At ASM, we are committed to continuously developing new innovations in process and equipment technologies to meet our customers’ needs.
New deposition technologies and chemistries continue to drive growth in our global patent portfolio. As of year-end 2022, we had around 2,600 patents in force worldwide.
Sustainability is an integral part of our strategy. In 2021, we defined our sustainability focus and priorities for the next horizon – the years 2021 to 2025, and beyond.