SPTS sends dry MEMS etch tool to China research institute

March 21, 2012 — Wafer processing equipment provider SPTS Technologies delivered its first vapor hydrogen fluoride (VHF) etch system in China, installing a Primaxx Monarch 3 tool at the Shanghai Institute of Microsystem and Information Technology (SIMIT) for dry release etch of micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS).
SPTS uses HF vapor to etch away sacrificial silicon oxide in MEMS structures, using reduced pressure tailored to release very small features on the die. It combines anhydrous HF gas and alcohol vapor at reduced pressure, creating a wide, stable process window that works with various oxide compositions and thicknesses. The composition remains highly selective to other common MEMS materials, such as aluminum, preventing attack on exposed surfaces. The Primaxx Monarch 3 uses a 3-wafer process module for higher throughput and repeatable etch processes.

SPTS’ HF vapor etch technology reportedly prevents stiction, which occurs during wet etch when the released microstructure and substrate are pulled together by the surface tension of the liquid between them during drying.

SIMIT selected the SPTS dry etch tool for its MEMS accelerometer development project because it releases fine features without stiction. The company also offers timely local support in Shanghai, said Professor Yang Heng from SIMIT

SIMIT is a multidisciplinary institute within the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) that engages in both fundamental and applied research. The Primaxx Monarch 3 system is housed at SIMIT’s facility in Shanghai, China.

SPTS Technologies (a Bridgepoint portfolio company) designs, manufactures, sells, and supports etch, PVD, CVD and thermal wafer processing solutions for MEMS, advanced packaging, light-emitting diode (LED), high-speed RF on gallium arsenide (GaAs), and power management device fab. Learn more at www.spts.com.

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