Executive viewpoints: 2018 outlook

Our density destiny? Precisely.

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 12.25.38 PMChris Davis, Co-founder and VP Sales & Marketing, Reno Sub-Systems

In some ways, little changed in the industry focus in 2017, nor will it in 2018. We continue to seek higher performance from smaller devices that consume less power and work within the constraints of the downward price pressures of our industry—but we’re having to look to new technology adoption to do it. We’re doubling, tripling and even quadrupling the number of layers in our chips to meet our goals. And it’s all for the sake of density. But, as always, serious challenges lie ahead.

Since the outcome of a more precise process is repeat-ability, that goal drives our work. For our part, we see that vacuum control and measurement have kept pace with industry needs, but gas-flow control, radio frequency (RF) matching network and solid-state power-generation technologies have not. For us, “precision” means applying exacting standards to the science behind our “pulsing” deposition and etch technology, to exponentially improve process quality and speed. For others, it may mean higher materials compatibility. For some, it may mean controlling nano-contaminants. We believe all these areas will make great strides this year and next. And they have to, in order to help us reach our industry goals for performance and yield in new dimensions at advanced nodes. Overall, we are optimistic on growth and can see it continuing through 2020, at least.

Highly complex designs at smaller geometries require rigorous controls that reduce process variabilities. Process control is key. For 2018, we see advance- ments in this area from our OEMs and process- enabling partners. A key area that will improve and help optimize leading-edge yield and performance is executional precision, which is what Reno is enabling equipment and device manufacturers to achieve.

In summary, subsystem technologies for RF power and precision flow controls are undergoing a generational change. This shift is essential to keep pace with the density destiny required for global drivers like big data, autonomous everything, AI and IoT.

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