Category Archives: Semiconductor

Thermal chucks and pedestals for ALD deposition processes

Thermal chucks for front-end wafer processes have demanding specifications and require constant improvement and innovation.

We are working closely with our OEM customers on improving our thermal chuck specifications to reduce the manufacturing deposition cycle time, to increase the yield in wafer production, and to be able to work with new precursors.

Temperatre uniformity across the surface of the chuck is always our first priority when we design a new chuck.

To achieve the uniformity our customers want, we custom design the chucks, from the heating cable to the plate material.

We are able to do this because we design and manufacture our own Mineral Insulated Cables inhouse. We adapt the internal structure of the cables to ensure the best quality when it comes to the finished product’s temperature uniformity, while conforming to the maximum temperature restrictions, with multiple heating zones.

The temperature control on the surface of the chuck is important for the process. We use fast response time thermocouples on different areas of the plate. At the prototyping phase,  we use more precise solutions to guarantee the temperature is uniform across the surface of the chuck and to control the gradient between the different heating zones.

Detailed thermal analysis is used for ensuring temperature uniformity across the wafer.

The transfer of heat between the chuck and the wafer affects the temperature uniformity and the wafer’s temperature requirements.

We offer several texturing solutions that improve this parameter.

The mechanical support is also important, including the design of the plate and the material used.

Our in-house high precision machining capabilities are a real asset at the prototyping phase and then for high-volume manufacturing.

Specific heat treatments and coatings can be used to meet high expectations and demanding specifications from our customers.

Our thermal chucks are used in ultra high vacuum and corrosive enviroments. The choice of the material and the welding process used for the encapsulation plates and for fixing the mineral insulated cable to the plate is essential.

The material means it requires to be cleaned less frequently on manufacturing . The welding process guarantees that there is no outgassing of the material in the deposition chamber.

 

FROM PROTOTYPING TO HIGH-VOLUME MANUFACTURING

We design and manufacture the chucks in-house and control the dimensions with high-performing tridimensional CMM control facilities.

 

 

THERMOCOAX  metal chucks are available in stainless steel, Inconel or a special alloy offering high dimensional stability.

  • diameters of up to 450mm (18″).
  • up to 7 state of the art separate heating zones
  • Maximum temperatures of up to 900°C.

The temperature of each heating zone is controlled independently.

We meet the requirements of the SEMICON market in terms of repeatability, temperature uniformity, production control, quality monitoring and COPY EXACT for high-volume manufacturing.

We adapt the feedthrough by offering customised bushings and flanges.

The following are also optional:

  • A cooling channel
  • A gas line
  • Vacuum wafer sucking
  • Anti-slice grooving

THERMOCOAX is constantly striving to improve in the following areas:

  • Design
  • Manufacturing process
  • Cost reduction

  

We are highly adaptable to customers’ specific requests

THERMOCOAX has a full-scale presence in the US and supplies ASIA directly.

 

 

High-End Thermal Solutions for Semicon Front-End Processes

In the semiconductor sector, machine-manufacturers at different stages of the wafer manufacturing process are looking for high-performing heating solutions that meet cutting-edge specifications in terms of design, uniformity, repeatability and lifetime but that are also able to withstand very corrosive environments under ultra-high vacuum and with ambient temperatures above 100°C.

THERMOCOAX’s expertise is in responding to strict specifications and in designing tailor-made high-performing thermal solutions from mineral insulated cables.

Our engineering know-how, our prototyping capacity and our knowledge of mineral insulated cables allow us to offer unique solutions to our customers.

We are also able to develop complex mechanical parts that incorporate our heating elements.

Our strength is that we master all these processes internally with a factory certified “Copy exact” dedicated to SEMICON applications for wafer manufacturing processes: high precision machining, welding, soldering, tests and qualifications, control, ….

Over the last few months, THERMOCOAX has developed an innovative, reliable and efficient solution to heat a system inside a vacuum chamber.

The challenge of this project was combining two thermal systems that had to be integrated into the customer’s final system, in an ultra-high vacuum and corrosive environment at high temperature.

The first thermal system that we had to develop was a kind of heating element coiled on a mandrel

The solution was complex because we had to meet critical specifications such as:
• The limitations and dimensional tolerances of the heater
• Critical operating temperature of 800°C
• Achieving a 10% power distribution uniformity – Several heating areas have been designed with different power densities
• Operational guarantee > 5 years, in ultra-high vacuum with a corrosive environment

We designed 6 different concepts and compared these solutions in order to select one.

THERMOCOAX chose a design with EC wound / brazed on a metal support which was mass-produced in line with a specific process.

Progress achieved – results achieved – originality of the chosen solution

This design, which at first glance looks like a heating cartridge, is innovative in its design because it has a fully wound heating element integrated in a mandrel by a process developed by THERMOCOAX.

The expected performances and lifetime results were validated during the qualification phase of the prototypes.

This all-encompassing design by THERMOCOAX targets many areas, with its performance advantages, its low cost design and its long lifetime performance.

The second thermal system is a complex assembly of a 3D design metal part with high temperature heating elements

Problems to solve

Being able to assemble complex metallics with a demanding dimensional specification and an operating temperature that can reach up to 800-900°C.

This temperature is near critical, especially when specifying a lifetime greater than 5 years.

We had to resolve the problem of complex machining.

It was also necessary to take the deformations caused by the machining into account, as well as the deformation from the welding and brazing processes.

The design and manufacturing method was developed entirely by THERMOCOAX to achieve a feasible design suitable for high volume manufacturing and minimizing the risk of non-compliance with dimensional or functional specifications.

We worked on raw material (304L) and evaluated and selected the material that was the most cost / quality / time effective.
For the metallic parts we evaluated: Full mass / forged / foundry material.

The other challenge with these pieces was treating them on the surface so that the highly corrosive liquid in the vacuum chamber would not stick to them.

After much research and testing we identified a substance that has very good anti-wetting properties and could be used for this type of application.

Work has also been done to validate the most suitable deposition process (PVD or CVD).
We finally selected the best deposit solution that operates in up to 600°C.

 

THERMOCOAX 60th ANNIVERSARY

THERMOCOAX has reached a major milestone this year. The company is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

60 years of service to our customers, 60 years of innovation in the nuclear, aerospace, semicon, and industrial markets meeting the expectations of these sectors through their constantly evolving applications.

To celebrate this event, the teams undertook the crossing of the bay of Mont Saint-Michel last month.  Braving the cold, the mud, and the rivers (sometimes full), we managed to chase the clouds and together we reached the finish line of this jewel of architecture, The Mont Saint-Michel, also called the “Wonder of the West”.  It was a very beautiful day revealing the mutual effort, team spirit, strong human values of THERMOCOAX.

 

 

 

Cast Aluminum Chuck

This Cast Aluminum Chuck is produced for semiconductor layer deposition in the CVD/PVD/ALD processes.

This design is a 100% customized solution allowing a large range of heating chucks from 100 mm to 450 mm in diameter. It  may be equipped with RF thermocouples able to withstand high radio frequencies (example: 13.56 MHz) and avoid perturbative noise during temperature measurement.

Technical features :

Cast Aluminum Chuck design for optimal thermal uniformity and an improved inner thermal exchange compared to a machined version. Down to -/+ 0.5% according to the temperature set point.

Based on the THERMOCOAX Mineral Insulated cable technology, the Cast Aluminum Chuck has a heating wire design using the hot/cold transition in the same diameter inserted inside the chuck.

chuck                hot-cold junction
    Chuck                                                                         Heating element with Hot / cold junction

  • Working temperature range : 50°C to 450°C
  • Flatness : down to 0.01 mm
  • Voltage : up to 240 Volts

The THERMOCOAX Cast Aluminum Chuck  can be equipped with lift pin holes and have an integrated cooling tube for air or water circulation and can be heated according to 1 or 2 heating zones.

This customized solution provides strong flexibility in terms of diameter, thickness and power supply.

The Cast Aluminum Chuck is an extremely reliable design with a high cost efficiency.

THERMOCOAX and heating solutions for Semiconductor industry :

  • Machined Aluminum Chuck
  • Stainless steel Chuck
  • Nickel Chuck
  • Various heating plates

 

Chuck                                                                              Semicon Heating plate
SEMICON - chuck SEMICON-heating plate Semicon

 

 

 

  Nicolas Letul | Scoop.it