Electronic Trends, Semiconductors, and Specialty Gases

Today we see an explosion of electronics, from the surge in consumer products like smartphones and laptops to a surge in semiconductor devices and computing demand in automotive, big data, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Virtual Reality. Semiconductor devices, or chips, create the computing power driving all these electronics, and a key material in making semiconductors faster and more powerful are specialty gases, especially silicon gases. Semiconductor devices, or chips, create the computing power driving all these electronics, and a key material in making semiconductors faster and more powerful are specialty gases, especially silicon gases. Integrated Device Manufacturers, Fabs, Specialty Gas providers, as well as inspection and consulting services, all have a specific role to play to deliver on this increased demand, including better semiconductor materials and processes.

At The Coretec Group, we understand the market dynamics, that the need for more computing power includes the need for advanced silicon precursors capable of providing fast deposition rates and higher quality films at lower temperatures. The following is an update on semiconductor’s specific needs as outlined in the Electronic Specialty Gases Conference from Oct 13-15th, 2020, which was well attended by all of the players named above including those like Applied Materials, Entegris, Micron, EMD, and others.

Computing power demand has surged with the Covid-19 pandemic as doctors, clinicians, and researchers scramble to find solutions, exponentially growing the amount of data storage and processing needs, thereby requiring more and more computing power. This, combined with all the other increases in computing power demand, has created unprecedented demand in the semiconductor industry. Increasing computing power is best achieved with smaller and more powerful chips combined with greater chip volume, however, to achieve this, new semiconductor designs are needed, which require new materials and new manufacturing processes. It is therein that lower temperatures and higher purity are required, which directly impact manufacturing productivity, namely deposition rates.

The main discussion points amongst all players was the need for collaboration and the special challenges that come with that. Chip manufacturers want assurance of production environment performance in these new materials and processes before committing to collaboration or adoption. Chip manufacturers also want assurance of secure distribution channels before committing to new materials that may require substantial changes in their own processes and/or equipment.

There have been several academic pursuits to develop and understand the deposition characteristics of higher-order silanes, specifically with respect to higher deposition rates and/or low deposition temperatures.1-3 Coretec’s original work on cyclohexasilane (CHS) shows an order of magnitude higher deposition rate over silane (a traditional silicon precursor), and an ability to deposit at nominal temperatures of 400 degrees Celsius. The Coretec Group is also partnered with Evonik, a world-class specialty materials manufacturer, to supply evaluation samples for process developers to test in production environments in early 2021. Both Coretec and Evonik believe in the superior process value the CHS molecule has, and in partnership ensure a secure supply to the chip manufacturing and microelectronics industry.

The Coretec Group understands the necessary collaborations needed in this industry and the benefits of this enhanced silicon precursor and we look forward to being able to demonstrate its ability in several production environments. We are already in conversations with several companies who have expressed interest in evaluating our CHS in their production equipment. If you are interested in being an evaluation customer and procuring a sample from us, please reach out to Michelle Tokarz at mtokarz@thecoretecgroup.com.