Veeco introduces new Apex gas mixing system

Veeco Instruments Inc. today introduced the Apex Gas Mixing System for point-of-use gas mixing. The Apex system generates precise binary gas mixtures on a single platform for use in semiconductor applications at 20nm and below.

The Apex Gas Mixing System improves concentration control versus existing methods, providing tighter process management, increased tool uptime and reduced manufacturing costs. It is optimized for advanced silicon epitaxy applications and other processes requiring low concentration, high precision and cost sensitive gas mixtures.

“Our new Apex Gas Mixing System addresses key challenges that face semiconductor manufacturers at the 20nm node and below,” said Christopher Morath, Senior Director, Veeco Flow Technologies Group. “For example, the Apex system provides precise control of germane and diborane flux for doped silicon germanium films that have a critical impact on device performance with tight process control limits. Consequently, the Apex system allows manufacturers to improve real-time process control by up to a factor of ten as compared to mixed gas cylinders. This will enable users to increase both yield and throughput.”

The Apex system, powered by Veeco’s production-proven Piezocon® Gas Concentration Sensor, reduces production costs by allowing manufacturers to purchase lower-cost, higher-concentration gases, then dilute them at the point of use to immediately cut gas purchase costs by as much as 60 percent. The Piezocon Gas Concentration Sensor total installed base is over 3,000 sensors worldwide, in both silicon semiconductor and MOCVD applications.

By using the Piezocon Gas Concentration Sensor to measure and control the mixture in real time, manufacturers eliminate the problems associated with constant flow mixers requiring wasted materials and constant scrubbing, adding to the already substantial cost savings. Using the Apex Gas Mixing System provides stable output and precise control of gas concentration, resulting in higher process tool up-time and eliminating the need to re- qualify after every gas cylinder change. These improvements reduce – and in some cases eliminate – system down-time due to routine cylinder changes. These features allow the Apex system to drive real-time control, high precision and reproducibility and lower cost of ownership for semiconductor manufacturers.

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