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Graphene and other carbon nanomaterials can replace scarce metals

Scarce metals are found in a wide range of everyday objects around us. They are complicated to extract, difficult to recycle and so rare that several of them have become “conflict minerals” which can promote conflicts and oppression. A survey at Chalmers University of Technology now shows that there are potential technology-based solutions that can replace many of the metals with carbon nanomaterials, such as graphene.

They can be found in your computer, in your mobile phone, in almost all other electronic equipment and in many of the plastics around you. Society is highly dependent on scarce metals, and this dependence has many disadvantages.

Scarce metals such as tin, silver, tungsten and indium are both rare and difficult to extract since the workable concentrations are very small. This ensures the metals are highly sought after – and their extraction is a breeding ground for conflicts, such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where they fund armed conflicts.

In addition, they are difficult to recycle profitably since they are often present in small quantities in various components such as electronics.

Rickard Arvidsson and Björn Sandén, researchers in environmental systems analysis at Chalmers University of Technology, have now examined an alternative solution: substituting carbon nanomaterials for the scarce metals. These substances – the best known of which is graphene – are strong materials with good conductivity, like scarce metals.

“Now technology development has allowed us to make greater use of the common element carbon,” says Sandén. “Today there are many new carbon nanomaterials with similar properties to metals. It’s a welcome new track, and it’s important to invest in both the recycling and substitution of scarce metals from now on.”

The Chalmers researchers have studied the main applications of 14 different metals, and by reviewing patents and scientific literature have investigated the potential for replacing them by carbon nanomaterials. The results provide a unique overview of research and technology development in the field.

According to Arvidsson and Sandén the summary shows that a shift away from the use of scarce metals to carbon nanomaterials is already taking place.

“There are potential technology-based solutions for replacing 13 out of the 14 metals by carbon nanomaterials in their most common applications. The technology development is at different stages for different metals and applications, but in some cases such as indium and gallium, the results are very promising,” Arvidsson says.

“This offers hope,” says Sandén. “In the debate on resource constraints, circular economy and society’s handling of materials, the focus has long been on recycling and reuse. Substitution is a potential alternative that has not been explored to the same extent and as the resource issues become more pressing, we now have more tools to work with.”

The research findings were recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. Arvidsson and Sandén stress that there are significant potential benefits from reducing the use of scarce metals, and they hope to be able to strengthen the case for more research and development in the field.

“Imagine being able to replace scarce metals with carbon,” Sandén says. “Extracting the carbon from biomass would create a natural cycle.”

“Since carbon is such a common and readily available material, it would also be possible to reduce the conflicts and geopolitical problems associated with these metals,” Arvidsson says.

At the same time they point out that more research is needed in the field in order to deal with any new problems that may arise if the scarce metals are replaced.

“Carbon nanomaterials are only a relatively recent discovery, and so far knowledge is limited about their environmental impact from a life-cycle perspective. But generally there seems to be a potential for a low environmental impact,” Arvidsson says.

Facts:

Carbon nanomaterials consist solely or mainly of carbon, and are strong materials with good conductivity. Several scarce metals have similar properties. The metals are found, for example, in cables, thin screens, flame-retardants, corrosion protection and capacitors.

Rickard Arvidsson and Björn Sandén at Chalmers University of Technology have investigated whether the carbon nanomaterials graphene, fullerenes and carbon nanotubes have the potential to replace 14 scarce metals in their main areas of application (see table in attached image). They found potential technology-based solutions to replace the metals with carbon nanomaterials for all applications except for gold in jewellery. The metals which we are closest to being able to substitute are indium, gallium, beryllium and silver.

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GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Soitec enter into long-term supply agreement on FD-SOI wafers

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Soitec today announced that they have entered into a five-year agreement to ensure the volume supply of state-of-the-art fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) wafers. This agreement extends the current partnership to provide a solid foundation for both companies to strengthen the FD-SOI supply chain and help ensure high-volume manufacturing.

With the leadership from the two companies, FD-SOI has become the standard technology for cost-effective, low-power devices in high-volume consumer, IoT and automotive applications. The agreement, which is effective immediately, builds on the existing close relationship between the companies and guarantees wafer supply for GF’s 22nm FD-SOI (22FDX®) technology platform.

“GLOBALFOUNDRIES is delivering industry leading ultra-low power, performance-on-demand FD-SOI solutions with cost-sensitive manufacturing options,” said John Docherty, senior vice president of Global Operations at GF. “With Soitec as a long-term strategic partner, this agreement ensures a secure supply to meet the high-volume capacity needs of current and future customers.”

“This agreement represents a long-term commitment from a key strategic customer, further strengthening the FD-SOI supply chain and confirming high-volume adoption,” said Christophe Maleville, executive vice president, Digital Electronics Business Unit at Soitec . “Soitec is fully prepared to support GF on its long-term plan to implement and grow 22FDX. This strategic agreement, with very significant wafer volumes, reflects GF’s strong confidence in Soitec as we build the required capacity to serve the growing FD-SOI demand.”

FD-SOI semiconductor technology has been made possible by the mutual commitment of many companies to deliver breakthroughs at both the device and substrate levels. GF and Soitec collaborate very closely to ensure landmark FD-SOI performance advantages at the right cost in developing the foundry’s FDX platforms. The FD-SOI process technologies are based on ultra-thin SOI substrates manufactured with Soitec’s industry-standard Smart Cut(TM) technology to generate ultra-thin layers with high quality and uniformity.

Offering the best power, performance, area and cost (PPAC) optimization of advanced planar technologies in smart phones, automotive electronics, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, FD-SOI is quickly becoming a new mainstream process technology for battery powered, wireless and connected devices. This agreement will secure effective demand support for the fast growing, global ecosystem which is fueled by the successful market adoption of GF’s 22FDX technology.

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Automated thickness measurement system speeds production

The labor-intensive, manual process of recording precise measurements across various wafer coordinates is now programmable for automated data collection and report generation.

ACU-THIK™ is an automated thickness measurement tool incorporating dual contact probes for high accuracy inspection of semiconductor wafers. Six Heidenhain measuring devices are integrated into the ACU-THIK™ system which can be configured to accommodate wafer diameters of 100mm – 400mm and larger. Acu-Gage customers can have a system customized for their precise needs to make differential gage measurement faster and easier.

Diagnosing as well as controlling thickness, bow and warp in semiconductor wafer production is now automated when using ACU-THIK™. Users can preprogram multiple pattern operations to fulfill planned production cycles. Additionally, the system supports robotics integration to further free up operators for other important tasks.

ACU-THIK’s automated measurements can improve quality-assured production yields by:

  • Calculating wafer thickness across X/Y points to resolution and repeatability of .00025mm/.00001 inch (10 millionths of an inch)
  • Determining the amount of bow deviation in an unclamped wafer established by three or more points at equidistant locations
  • Examining the entire wafer for warp by incorporating more comprehensive data points to provide a more useful measurement of the full wafer shape
  • Accelerating throughput with 15 data points of X/Y thickness measurements in under two minutes as well as increasing accuracy of wafer thickness and flatness definitions
  • Validating pre- and post-measurement integrity of data collection for each wafer inspection – ACU-THIK™ calculates the thickness of a certified gage block prior to as well as after the wafer inspection routine is complete.

The X/Y location for each thickness data point automatically outputs to Excel for further analysis. Programming software runs on Windows 7. Both hardware and software come delivered as a turnkey system including installation and training.

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Leti develops proof of concept to test wireless systems in aircraft

Leti, a technology research institute of CEA Tech, announced today it has developed a methodology for testing high-speed wireless communications on airplanes that allows different system deployments in cabins, and assesses wireless devices before they are installed.

In a joint research project with Dassault Aviation, Leti demonstrated a channel-measurement campaign over Wi-Fi frequency in several airplanes, including Dassault’s Falcon business jet. Using a channel sounder and a spatial scanner, Leti teams determined a statistic model of the in-cabin radio channel, constructed from the antenna position and the configuration of the aircraft.

A radio-frequency channel emulator and the in-cabin channel model were used to test Wi-Fi designed for passenger communication and entertainment before installation in the aircraft. In that test, two different wireless access points and different antenna configurations for Wi-Fi networks deployed in an aircraft cabin were evaluated. Based on an extensive test campaign, mean values of performance parameters, together with the operating margin, were provided according to the device configuration, kind of traffic and channel conditions.

In addition, the technology gives aircraft designers key tools to define wireless communication systems that enhance passenger experience, without aircraft immobilization.

“This research collaboration with Dassault is a critical first step toward validating wireless connectivity systems before they are installed in aircraft,” said Lionel Rudant, Leti strategic marketing manager. “Wireless systems have multiple benefits, ranging from more efficient monitoring of aircraft comfort and safety to reducing the weight of planes.”

Leti’s roadmap also addresses goals for wireless sensor networks, which are part of an industry effort to replace the hundreds of miles of wiring required to connect thousands of sensors and other detectors located throughout aircraft to monitor safety and comfort factors. The factors range from ice detection, tire pressure and engine sensors to cabin pressure, smoke detection and temperature monitoring.

Rudant will present details of Leti’s proof of concept at the AeroTech Conference and Exhibition, Sept. 26-28 in Fort Worth, Texas. His talk, “Test of in-flight wireless connectivity with radio channel emulator”, will be on Sept. 27 at 8 a.m. in room 201B.

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SEMICON Europa moves to Munich: Empowering innovation and shaping the value chain

SEMICON Europa 2017 will take place in Munich for the first time, co-located with productronica (14-17 November in Munich, Germany). SEMICON Europa will showcase the critical issues shaping the entire electronics manufacturing supply chain. Fourexecutive keynotes will share their thought leadership on current opportunities for Europe: Maria Marced, president, TSMC Europe; Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO, Bosch Sensortec; and Frank M. Rinderknecht, founder and CEO of Rinspeed Inc.

“Innovations in semiconductor manufacturing are at the heart of the value chain driving innovations enabling key future growth drivers in Mobile, Automotive, Medical, passive and intelligent computing as well as AR and VR,” stated Laith Altimime, president, SEMI Europe. SEMICON Europa programs, sessions, and speakers will illuminate this year’s theme “Empowering Innovation and Shaping the Value Chain.”  Highlights of SEMICON Europa include:

  • Fab Management Forum: Quality Challenges – Solutions for Tomorrow ─ Topics include:Future of digital vehicles and requirements for quality and availability of semiconductors with Daimler AG, an analysis of Human failure and mindset change by European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) Berlin, and how innovative sensor and analytics solutions enable new applications in the fab of tomorrow by KINEXON GmbH.
  • Advanced Packaging Conference: Electronics Packaging and Test for Future Mobility ─With Yole Développement on the dynamics of the advanced packaging ecosystem, Robert Bosch GmbH on automotive, Infineon Technologies on packaging for automotive ─ challenges and solutions, RoodMicrotec GmbH on wafer and final test in the new era of electronics, and STMicroelectronics on packaging challenges for robust miniaturization.
  •  Power Electronics Conference: From Materials to Systems,The Latest Innovations ─Covering power electronics applications for Automotive by Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology IISB, a forecast of the next five years to reveal how technology development will shape the power electronics market by Yole Développement, and  Cambridge University on Silicon and Wide bandgap devices in power electronics.
  • New! Materials Conference: Connected World ─ New Material Challenges and Solutions ─Includes a keynote by Christophe Maleville, SOITEC, on how to better optimize performance, power budget and cost to meet applications requirements; plus presentations from Volkswagen AG on the need for new industry alliances in automotive, FUJIFILM on maximum utilization of chemically amplified resist, and Dow Chemical on the information age and connectivity enabled by advanced electronic materials. The free Webinar “Connected World: New Material Challenges and Solutions – Market Update and Outlook is planned on 27 September.
  • New! European Connect2Car Forum ─ A new Forum in collaboration with SAE International. Insights for automotive OEM and supplier executives, consumer electronics leaders, mobile application developers, and aftermarket entrepreneurs focusing on enhancing the driver experience and accelerating the deployment of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.
  • New! 2017FLEX Europe “Be Flexible” ─ New collaboration between FLEX and Fraunhofer EMFT. Insights on innovative solutions for flexible and stretchable systems by Würth Elektronik GmbH,  technology and applications of chip-film patch for hybrid systems in foil by IMS CHIPS, new capabilities and applications of flexible components by E Ink Corporation, and insight on how potentials of System-in-Package technologies will affect the future by Bosch.

SEMI and Messe München Joint Press Conference will take place on 14 November at 11:00-12:00, at Messe München Press Conference Center.

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Leading-edge paves the way for pure-play foundry growth

IC Insights has just released its September Update to The McClean Report.  This 32-page Updateincludes a detailed look at the pure-play foundry market and an analysis of the historical DRAM price-per-bit trends.  Shown below is an excerpt from the Update that examines the IC technology trends in the pure-play foundry market.

In 2017, the 7% increase in the total pure-play foundry market is forecast to be almost entirely due to an 18% jump in <40nm feature size device sales (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1

Although expected to represent 60% of total pure-play foundry sales in 2017, the ≥40nm pure-play IC foundry market is forecast to be up only $0.2 billion this year.  In contrast, the 2017 leading-edge <40nm pure-play foundry market is expected to surge by a hefty $3.3 billion.  Moreover, not only is almost all of the pure-play foundry growth forecast to come from leading-edge production in 2017, most of the profits that are expected to be realized in the foundry market also forecast to come from the finer feature sizes as well.

TSMC is by far the technology leader among the major pure-play foundries.  In 2017, 58% of TSMC’s revenue is expected to come from <40nm processing, more than double percentage at GlobalFoundries and more than triple the share at UMC.  In total, TSMC is forecast to hold an 86% share of the total <40nm pure-play foundry market this year.

Illustrating how dominant TSMC is in the leading-edge pure-play foundry market, the company is expected to have almost 7x the dollar volume sales at <40nm as compared to GlobalFoundries, UMC, and SMIC combined this year ($18.5 billion for TSMC and $2.7 billion for combined total of GlobalFoundries, UMC, and SMIC).  In fact, 10% of TSMC’s total sales this year are forecast to be for its 10nm process technology.

In contrast to TSMC, SMIC only entered initial production of its 28nm technology in 4Q15, more than three years after TSMC first put its 28nm process into production.  In fact, only 7% of SMIC’s 2017 sales are expected to be from devices having 28nm feature sizes (the company does not offer a finer feature size at this time), which is the primary reason its revenue per wafer is so much less compared to TSMC.

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Seoul Semiconductor files patent litigation for infringement of 12 Acrich patents

Seoul Semiconductor Co., Ltd. announced on Sept. 19, 2017 that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit, together with its affiliate, Seoul Viosys Co., Ltd., against Archipelago Lighting, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

In its complaint, Seoul asserts that Archipelago Lighting is selling various LED bulb products, including filament LED bulbs, that infringe on “twelve” (12) patents covering aspects of Seoul’s long-established Acrich technology. These Acrich patents include fundamental LED technologies, such as LED driver technology for high-voltage operation, MJT (Multi-Junction Technology), filament LED bulb structure, LED packaging, LED epitaxial growth, LED chip fabrication, etc.

In conventional LED products, one LED unit usually operates at a low voltage (3V) and high current. In order to increase brightness, one must connect many LED units through wire-bonding, but this can lead to other issues, such as an oversized, costly operating circuit, a substantial increase in manufacturing costs and defects caused by multiple wire-bonding connections.

Seoul’s Acrich technology resolves such problems by enabling the design of a high-voltage product with a high power output that relies on only a small number of LED units. Acrich technology does so by utilizing its innovative LED driver technology to enable high-voltage operation, as well as its unique MJT technology for mounting and integrating many LEDs within a small area. Seoul’s Acrich technology enables LED products to operate using AC power without requiring conversion to DC, minimizing power dissipation and reducing overall component count. This maximizes the available space in LED products, facilitating a simple circuit design and significantly reducing the size and cost of LED products. Acrich technology has become widely adopted for general lighting, as well as electronic products, including televisions.

For example, in the general lighting market, 12V/18V high-voltage products have become increasingly popular, and there has been a significant increase in the demand for 36V/48V products. To manufacture such high-voltage products, Acrich technology is necessary to support LED driver technology for high-voltage operations with MJT technology. The innovative benefits of Acrich technology have resulted in its being applied in street lights and commercial lights in countries throughout the world, including locations as diverse as Korea, the United States, China, Europe, Southeast Asia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan.

In electronic products, Acrich technology is being increasingly used for valuable product lines such as large-area television displays. Acrich technology enables a dramatic enhancement in the service life and efficiency of such displays by simplifying their internal system. It also dramatically reduces the size and thickness of the final product, rendering it more pleasing to consumers, by reducing the amount of internal space previously reserved for complicated electric circuits. In particular, Acrich enables full-array local dimming that enhances the contrast range of the latest ultra-thin UHD display products by providing the next generation of backlighting solutions for high-definition displays.

Acrich technology is also expanding its application to other product areas that require high LED light output, such as landscape lighting, vehicle headlamps and daylight running lamps as well as mobile phone flash units.

Seoul began to develop its unique Acrich technology in the mid-1990s and has continued to launch advanced, innovative Acrich products every year following its successful volume production in 2005. Based on its decades of investment in research and development, Seoul has established a large patent portfolio for Acrich technology, including rights to approximately 1,000 Acrich patents. However, with the recent increase in the demand for high-voltage LED products, several companies have begun to manufacture products that infringe on Seoul’s Acrich patents. In order to protect its hard-earned investment against such infringement, Seoul will actively enforce its patent rights against any infringers.

Dr. Ki-bum Nam, head of Seoul’s R&D Center and chief technology officer said, “We have extensively investigated copycat products infringing on Acrich technology with various LED TVs, general lighting and automotive lighting products. In order to protect Acrich technology, which has been developed with considerable resources over many decades, we will continuously take any and all legal action against infringers that disregard our valuable intellectual property.” Nam added: “Creating a fair market that respects intellectual property is important for all innovative entrepreneurs and businesses.”

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Graphene and other carbon nanomaterials can replace scarce metals

Scarce metals are found in a wide range of everyday objects around us. They are complicated to extract, difficult to recycle and so rare that several of them have become “conflict minerals” which can promote conflicts and oppression. A survey at Chalmers University of Technology now shows that there are potential technology-based solutions that can replace many of the metals with carbon nanomaterials, such as graphene.

They can be found in your computer, in your mobile phone, in almost all other electronic equipment and in many of the plastics around you. Society is highly dependent on scarce metals, and this dependence has many disadvantages.

Scarce metals such as tin, silver, tungsten and indium are both rare and difficult to extract since the workable concentrations are very small. This ensures the metals are highly sought after – and their extraction is a breeding ground for conflicts, such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where they fund armed conflicts.

In addition, they are difficult to recycle profitably since they are often present in small quantities in various components such as electronics.

Rickard Arvidsson and Björn Sandén, researchers in environmental systems analysis at Chalmers University of Technology, have now examined an alternative solution: substituting carbon nanomaterials for the scarce metals. These substances – the best known of which is graphene – are strong materials with good conductivity, like scarce metals.

“Now technology development has allowed us to make greater use of the common element carbon,” says Sandén. “Today there are many new carbon nanomaterials with similar properties to metals. It’s a welcome new track, and it’s important to invest in both the recycling and substitution of scarce metals from now on.”

The Chalmers researchers have studied the main applications of 14 different metals, and by reviewing patents and scientific literature have investigated the potential for replacing them by carbon nanomaterials. The results provide a unique overview of research and technology development in the field.

According to Arvidsson and Sandén the summary shows that a shift away from the use of scarce metals to carbon nanomaterials is already taking place.

“There are potential technology-based solutions for replacing 13 out of the 14 metals by carbon nanomaterials in their most common applications. The technology development is at different stages for different metals and applications, but in some cases such as indium and gallium, the results are very promising,” Arvidsson says.

“This offers hope,” says Sandén. “In the debate on resource constraints, circular economy and society’s handling of materials, the focus has long been on recycling and reuse. Substitution is a potential alternative that has not been explored to the same extent and as the resource issues become more pressing, we now have more tools to work with.”

The research findings were recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. Arvidsson and Sandén stress that there are significant potential benefits from reducing the use of scarce metals, and they hope to be able to strengthen the case for more research and development in the field.

“Imagine being able to replace scarce metals with carbon,” Sandén says. “Extracting the carbon from biomass would create a natural cycle.”

“Since carbon is such a common and readily available material, it would also be possible to reduce the conflicts and geopolitical problems associated with these metals,” Arvidsson says.

At the same time they point out that more research is needed in the field in order to deal with any new problems that may arise if the scarce metals are replaced.

“Carbon nanomaterials are only a relatively recent discovery, and so far knowledge is limited about their environmental impact from a life-cycle perspective. But generally there seems to be a potential for a low environmental impact,” Arvidsson says.

Facts:

Carbon nanomaterials consist solely or mainly of carbon, and are strong materials with good conductivity. Several scarce metals have similar properties. The metals are found, for example, in cables, thin screens, flame-retardants, corrosion protection and capacitors.

Rickard Arvidsson and Björn Sandén at Chalmers University of Technology have investigated whether the carbon nanomaterials graphene, fullerenes and carbon nanotubes have the potential to replace 14 scarce metals in their main areas of application (see table in attached image). They found potential technology-based solutions to replace the metals with carbon nanomaterials for all applications except for gold in jewellery. The metals which we are closest to being able to substitute are indium, gallium, beryllium and silver.

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GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Soitec enter into long-term supply agreement on FD-SOI wafers

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Soitec today announced that they have entered into a five-year agreement to ensure the volume supply of state-of-the-art fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) wafers. This agreement extends the current partnership to provide a solid foundation for both companies to strengthen the FD-SOI supply chain and help ensure high-volume manufacturing.

With the leadership from the two companies, FD-SOI has become the standard technology for cost-effective, low-power devices in high-volume consumer, IoT and automotive applications. The agreement, which is effective immediately, builds on the existing close relationship between the companies and guarantees wafer supply for GF’s 22nm FD-SOI (22FDX®) technology platform.

“GLOBALFOUNDRIES is delivering industry leading ultra-low power, performance-on-demand FD-SOI solutions with cost-sensitive manufacturing options,” said John Docherty, senior vice president of Global Operations at GF. “With Soitec as a long-term strategic partner, this agreement ensures a secure supply to meet the high-volume capacity needs of current and future customers.”

“This agreement represents a long-term commitment from a key strategic customer, further strengthening the FD-SOI supply chain and confirming high-volume adoption,” said Christophe Maleville, executive vice president, Digital Electronics Business Unit at Soitec . “Soitec is fully prepared to support GF on its long-term plan to implement and grow 22FDX. This strategic agreement, with very significant wafer volumes, reflects GF’s strong confidence in Soitec as we build the required capacity to serve the growing FD-SOI demand.”

FD-SOI semiconductor technology has been made possible by the mutual commitment of many companies to deliver breakthroughs at both the device and substrate levels. GF and Soitec collaborate very closely to ensure landmark FD-SOI performance advantages at the right cost in developing the foundry’s FDX platforms. The FD-SOI process technologies are based on ultra-thin SOI substrates manufactured with Soitec’s industry-standard Smart Cut(TM) technology to generate ultra-thin layers with high quality and uniformity.

Offering the best power, performance, area and cost (PPAC) optimization of advanced planar technologies in smart phones, automotive electronics, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, FD-SOI is quickly becoming a new mainstream process technology for battery powered, wireless and connected devices. This agreement will secure effective demand support for the fast growing, global ecosystem which is fueled by the successful market adoption of GF’s 22FDX technology.

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Automated thickness measurement system speeds production

The labor-intensive, manual process of recording precise measurements across various wafer coordinates is now programmable for automated data collection and report generation.

ACU-THIK™ is an automated thickness measurement tool incorporating dual contact probes for high accuracy inspection of semiconductor wafers. Six Heidenhain measuring devices are integrated into the ACU-THIK™ system which can be configured to accommodate wafer diameters of 100mm – 400mm and larger. Acu-Gage customers can have a system customized for their precise needs to make differential gage measurement faster and easier.

Diagnosing as well as controlling thickness, bow and warp in semiconductor wafer production is now automated when using ACU-THIK™. Users can preprogram multiple pattern operations to fulfill planned production cycles. Additionally, the system supports robotics integration to further free up operators for other important tasks.

ACU-THIK’s automated measurements can improve quality-assured production yields by:

  • Calculating wafer thickness across X/Y points to resolution and repeatability of .00025mm/.00001 inch (10 millionths of an inch)
  • Determining the amount of bow deviation in an unclamped wafer established by three or more points at equidistant locations
  • Examining the entire wafer for warp by incorporating more comprehensive data points to provide a more useful measurement of the full wafer shape
  • Accelerating throughput with 15 data points of X/Y thickness measurements in under two minutes as well as increasing accuracy of wafer thickness and flatness definitions
  • Validating pre- and post-measurement integrity of data collection for each wafer inspection – ACU-THIK™ calculates the thickness of a certified gage block prior to as well as after the wafer inspection routine is complete.

The X/Y location for each thickness data point automatically outputs to Excel for further analysis. Programming software runs on Windows 7. Both hardware and software come delivered as a turnkey system including installation and training.

IMG_1252 (1)

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