SEMICON West preview: Equipment components and subsystems

By Paula Doe, SEMI

Fabs and tool makers are starting to pay a lot more attention to suppliers of components and subsystems– as defects in these materials start to impact yields at 14nm and below. Solving these emerging issues, though, will take a collaborative effort to determine what parameters matter, how to measure them, and how to trace them back across an extended supply chain, suggests Pawitter Mangat, GLOBALFOUNDRIES director of Global Incoming Quality, one of the speakers who’ll discuss these issues in the program on component impact on yields at advanced nodes, July 11, at SEMICON West 2017.

“As we move below 22nm, even the composition of the materials in the subcomponents become critical,” he says. “But currently there is no general agreement on what the important parameters are to control for particular applications, or on how to measure these parameters with the same methods for consistent results.” The issues are often with the industrial grade raw materials from which the subcomponents are made, and these industrial chemical suppliers may be reluctant to invest in controls as the semiconductor industry represents only a tiny percentage of their business. “This means we need to look beyond our immediate suppliers to a wider ecosystem of components and material suppliers, and to extend digital traceability through this wider ecosystem as well,” he notes. “If we have an issue, we need to be able to quickly trace it back to the cause.”

“The 7nm world tends to forget that all subcomponents, everything, has been developed for other industries, not the semiconductor industry, and the makers of all these basic pumps and valves and O-rings have no way of knowing what the important parameters are to prevent defects in the final semiconductor devices,” notes Dalia Vernikovsky, CEO, Applied Seals North America, and co-chair of the SEMI Semiconductor Components, Instruments, and SubSystems (SCIS) special interest group.

She suggests the major users and suppliers get together to come up with the basic parameters for things like metal contamination, surface cleanliness or outgassing for specific components for specific processes, and then agree on a common way to measure these parameters, to enable tracing and characterizing the defects in the final devices.   This is also the first step towards specifying and controlling the parameters of the raw materials used in the components and subsystems that also matter. “If I am going to push my supplier, I have to be able to show him what the end customers’ requirement is,” notes Vernikovsky.  “This is not about individual companies’ intellectual property. It’s the basic requirement of the IC industry that we all need to meet, and then we can compete on a higher level.”

Other speakers at the Semiconductor Components, Instruments and Subsystems (SCIS) session include Norm Armour, Micron Technology, Managing Director Worldwide Facilities and Corporate EHSS; Sanchali Bhattaharjee, Intel, Engineering Manager, Global Supply Chain Management; and a panel with the speakers moderated by Dan Hutcheson, VLSI Research, CEO and Chairman. The SEMI SCIS special interest group will also have an open meeting on their current collaborative efforts July 13 at the Marriott Marquis. See www.semiconwest.org/programs-catalog/enabling-hvm-advanced-process-nodes.

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