(June 10, 2008) KISTA, Sweden and ST. JEOIRE, France — Just because Replisaurus, Inc. has maintained a low profile since announcing their first round of funding in August 2006 round of funding in August 2006 , it doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a lot going on for the start-up company. In fact, just the opposite is true. With last week’s announcement of the company’s acquisition of Smart Equipment Technologies , the company is ready show the world what it’s been up to.
“What we wanted to do was avoid going out and creating lots of hype about our technology while it was being developed,” explained Jim Quinn, CEO, Replisaurus. “Now it’s time to start being more visible.”
Replisaurus has developed a proprietary process called electrochemical pattern replication (ECPR) electrochemical pattern replication (ECPR) which Quinn calls a “middle-end of the line” process, bridging the gap between front and back-end processes. “It can run metallization for wafer-level packaging, or go below the passivation layer,” he explained. This metallization transfer process reportedly eliminates lithography and photoresists, reducing traditional 8-step lithography metallization down to three steps. In the first step, a master wafer patterned with insulating material and pre-filled with copper is aligned with the target wafer, which is flooded with electrolyte. In the contact mode, the two wafers are joined and current is applied to the master wafer which ionizes the copper and transfers it to the target wafer. After the metal transfer, the master and substrate are separated — the replication is complete. In production, all three steps — fill, transfer, and clean — are performed in parallel.
“This is a completely fab-friendly, environmentally clean process,” said Quinn, adding that ECPR redefines metallization by reducing a one-hour process to 5 minutes. 8 steps have been reduced to three, it requires one tool rather than six, doesn’t require solvents or developers, and removes cost and complexity from conventional processes.
Initially, the technology will target wafer level packaging applications such as creating the redistribution layer (RDL) for integrated passives, achieving ultra-fine pitch copper pillars, and via filling for 3D integration. And that’s where S.E.T. comes in. “Start-ups are needed to develop technology,” noted Quinn, “but you need the infrastructure of an established equipment company to roll out the product.” Initially, the company purchased a tool from what was then SUSS MicroTec France, and retrofitted it with their chamber that runs the ECPR process. The Titan, originally developed for copper-to-copper bonding, became the Pattern Replication Aligner. Thus, SUSS became their equipment supplier, which gave Replisaurus a head start, as they wouldn’t have to develop a tool from scratch.
According to Quinn, the decision to acquire S.E.T. came after last year’s management buyout, when Ga