“At present, the mainstream thin film deposition processes in the industry mainly include atomic layer deposition (ALD), physical vacuum coating (PVD) and chemical vacuum coating (CVD). So, which type of deposition technology is suitable for third-generation semiconductors?
With the proposal of China’s “14th Five-Year Plan” and the global technology industry reaching a consensus on the goal of “carbon peaking and carbon neutrality”, the third generation represented by silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) New semiconductor materials have become the core technologies supporting 5G infrastructure, new energy industry, UHV, rail transit and other fields by virtue of their excellent characteristics such as high breakdown electric field, high thermal conductivity, high electron saturation rate and strong radiation resistance. Data shows that in 2020, the total output value of power electronics and radio frequency electronics in China’s “third-generation semiconductor” industry will exceed 10 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 69.5%. Among them, the output value of SiC and GaN power electronics reached 4.47 billion yuan, an increase of 54% year-on-year; the output value of GaN microwave radio frequency reached 6.08 billion yuan, an increase of 80.3% year-on-year.
Figure 1: Total output value of power electronics and RF electronics in China’s third-generation semiconductor industry in 2020
However, there are considerable barriers to entry in the third-generation semiconductor industry. Since the performance of SiC and GaN devices is closely related to materials, structural design and manufacturing processes, most semiconductor companies tend to adopt the IDM model in order to maintain their competitiveness. Integration of design and manufacture. For example, China Resources Micro has established the first 6-inch commercial SiC wafer production line in China; Innosec has also successfully expanded its GaN production base in Suzhou, making it the world’s largest 8-inch GaN factory. Obviously, these newly opened or expanded production lines are rapidly boosting the market demand for semiconductor equipment amid tight global semiconductor production capacity. Taking thin-film deposition, an essential manufacturing link, as an example, thin-film deposition equipment accounts for about 25% of the investment in equipment for new production lines, and is a non-negligible part of the semiconductor equipment market growth. Therefore, how to select thin-film deposition equipment to match the evolving wide-bandgap semiconductor manufacturing process requirements is a difficult problem facing many third-generation semiconductor manufacturers.
Focusing on new processes and new materials, 40 years of deposition and coating experts support the third generation of semiconductors
At present, the mainstream thin film deposition processes in the industry mainly include atomic layer deposition (ALD), physical vacuum coating (PVD) and chemical vacuum coating (CVD). So, which type of deposition technology is suitable for third-generation semiconductors? Mr. Nie Xiang, general manager of Qingdao Sifang Sirui Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Sirui Intelligence or SRII), an industry-leading ALD equipment manufacturer and service provider, said: “With new materials, new processes, new processes, etc. Applied to the field of semiconductor manufacturing, semiconductor devices themselves are also developing towards more complex, higher aspect ratio, and even 3D heterostructures, especially in the Beyond Moore field and third-generation semiconductor applications. Under such circumstances, ALD has irreplaceable advantages over other coating technologies.”
In practical applications, the new generation of advanced ALD equipment launched by SIRUI can deposit materials on the substrate surface in the form of a single-atom film (0.1nm), and achieve high precision in the coating control of the overall device. Taking GaN power devices as an example, SIRUI’s ALD coating technology can effectively enhance the performance of GaN devices. First, passivation and coverage of the device surface can be achieved through ALD thin films; second, the deposition of gate high-K dielectrics is achieved through aluminum oxide stacks; second, the native oxide layer is removed through in-situ pretreatment to achieve surface stabilization; Finally, the buffer layer is realized by high-quality ALD aluminum nitride to form a more production-efficient mass production solution.
Figure 2: SIRUI launched an ALD coating solution for GaN power devices
Relying on nearly 40 years of ALD technology application experience of BENEQ, a subsidiary of SIRUI, SIRUI is providing the industry with a broad, versatile and powerful equipment product portfolio, focusing on the continuous innovation of ALD technology and services. Recognized by many well-known semiconductor companies around the world such as China.
Semiconductor equipment opportunities under capacity expansion, technical services and supply chain localization problems are highlighted
The general format of capacity expansion is “signing large orders” for equipment manufacturers, and equipment providers also need to continuously improve service quality and further consolidate their own market “moat”. For example, after SIRUI completed the wholly-owned acquisition of BENEQ in 2018, it has been implementing the strategy of “parallel localization and globalization”. In addition to consolidating its market share in Europe and the United States, it is also taking root in the Chinese market and cultivating local, international and innovative The team gradually formed a complete service network covering R&D, pre-sales, after-sales and other links, and strengthened the deployment of industrial ecological cooperation with different regions, different fields and different institutions.
When talking about the opportunities and challenges of localization, Nie Xiang said: “There are a large number of semiconductor manufacturing companies emerging in the Chinese market. SIRUI has the advantage of being close to customers. Cooperate with the Finnish team to carry out collaborative research and development and joint innovation. In addition, different customers have different requirements in terms of details, such as domestic customers are more sensitive to delivery time, and require faster service response. Of course, in order to have a shorter delivery time and a more competitive price, the safety and efficient integration of the supply chain are very important factors. In this regard, SIRUI has made a lot of efforts to actively promote the supply chain to operate more efficiently, More in line with the needs of the market! Recently, SIRUI official website sri-i.com and WeChat public account “SIRUI SRII” have been launched to help local customers clearly and intuitively understand SIRUI’s application fields and product solutions.”
In addition to localization measures such as technical teams and supply chains, Sirui Intelligence is also promoting regional cooperation in different fields. Many industrial cluster areas including Qingdao, Shanghai, Zhejiang, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area have been included in its layout plan. Through industrialization bases, joint laboratories, pilot lines, etc., we are committed to realizing more localized innovations and continue to provide first-class and innovative product solutions for the industry.
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