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COMPOUND SEMICONDUCTORS New partnership to focus on compound semiconductors

From Luke James

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Two leaders in the field of compound semiconductors, Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology and LayTec, have announced an exclusive collaboration agreement which they say will enable the next generation requirements of advanced semiconductor devices in high-volume manufacturing (HVM).

Oxford Instruments and LayTec will partner to develop solutions that will benefit the next generation requirements of semiconductor requirements.
Oxford Instruments and LayTec will partner to develop solutions that will benefit the next generation requirements of semiconductor requirements.
(Source: Oxford Instruments)

Together, the two companies will combine plasma process solutions with in-situ metrology to achieve device performance beyond what’s currently possible and bring about a repeatable HVM process that will shorten customers’ yield ramp.

Under the partnership, LayTec will develop the in-situ metrology while Oxford Instruments will integrate LayTec’s control with its wafer processing solutions. This, it is claimed, will deliver a much better solution to the customer.

Oxford Instruments & LayTec

Oxford Instruments specializes in the development of technologies for fields including health and agriculture. The company has a strong history of innovation and has today operates in two distinct segments: analytical and superconductivity. The former provides measurement and fabrication instruments for industrial and commercial customers while the latter offers martials, tools, and systems under government contracts.

Meanwhile, LayTec designs and manufactures metrology solutions that enable high yield, and high-performance manufacturing, and advanced process control. Since its founding in 1999, LayTec has installed more than 2,000 metrology systems worldwide and specializes in the field of semiconductors, particularly compound semiconductor applications and photovoltaics.

It is therefore clear to see just why the two companies have elected to collaborate on developing a solution to further innovation in the field of compound semiconductors.

Compound semiconductors

A compound semiconductor is a semiconductor that is made from two or more elements.

They have played a pivotal role in the development of optoelectronic devices used in optical communication systems, photovoltaics, high-density data storage and solid-state lighting, but growing demands for more efficient power conversion have seen compound devices based on gallium nitride (GaN), silicon carbide (SiC) and GaAs/InP grow in popularity in recent years due to their superior performance.

However, challenges exist in moving the technology from small prototypes to wafer-scale, high-volume manufacturing. While device dimensions are relatively large, the complex layer structure that invariably exists in them means that acute processing accuracy within these layers is required to achieve the necessary stability and yield to drive down production costs and accelerate adoption into target applications.

This is where the partnership comes in: Oxford Instruments’ stable plasma processing platform can be deployed alongside LayTec’s precise endpoint technology in plasma etching to facilitate the control and repeatability that is needed to increase wafer-to-wafer yield.

“As we enter a very exciting period of innovation and growth, it is our firm intention to meet the requirement of improved performance and reduced cost of ownership objectives necessary to support needs of the emerging GaN power and RF market,” said Frazer Anderson of Oxford Instruments.

“This collaboration with LayTec will further increase our ability to be able to deliver both requirements,” he added.

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