Entegris builds advanced filtration and contamination control R&D; center for 2X, 1X semiconductor fab

April 12, 2012 -- Entegris (NASDAQ:ENTG), contamination control and handling system supplier to the semiconductor and microelectronics industries, will build the Entegris i2M Center for Advanced Materials Science in Bedford, MA, near its headquarters in Billerica. i2M denotes ideas to market.

The i2M Center will focus on R&D and manufacturing of filtration media, electrostatic wafer clamps (E-Chucks) and proprietary advanced low-temperature coatings, meeting the needs of next-generation 2X, 1X, and single-digit semiconductor manufacturing nodes. The Entegris i2M Center will tackle “the most difficult purification, process control, and material protection challenges,” said Gideon Argov, president and CEO, Entegris. These include ion-based contamination in liquids, as well as the well-known problems with organic matter and bubbles. In gas purification, airborne molecular contamination is a problem Entegris will aggressively address, said Steven Cantor, VP of corporate relations. These begin as moisture in or around fab tools, or penetrating wafer FOUPs as they wait in fabs for the next process step. Entegris is developing new techniques to slow that down or prevent moisture ingress into the wafer environment, Cantor explained. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) for first time includes extensive specifications for airborne molecular contamination. Entegris is working on these “red bricks” with customers and consortia, as well as research hubs.

Massachusetts offered the talent and infrastructure to support this aim, said Cantor. Entegris purchased land and an existing 80,000 square foot building in Bedford for the i2M Center, which will bring together Entegris’ membrane manufacturing for liquid filtration and membrane development group, along with its coatings group for electrostatic chucks. An investment of approximately $45 to $50 million will go into infrastructure upgrades and equipment over the next two years. It will host development labs, as well as extruding equipment to make advanced membranes. Phase 1 of the center will be operational as early as January 2013. Bringing related groups together for development and manufacturing should lead to a great deal of innovation, said Cantor. Approximately 100 professional and skilled employees will transfer from existing nearby sites, and an additional 10 engineering and development positions will open for personnel specializing in membrane science and E-Chucks.

Also read: Entegris' Taiwan lab, manufacturing facility serves advanced semiconductor manufacturers

While the center is in the US, it will support global customers, many in Asia, said Bertrand Loy, COO of Entegris. Semiconductor manufacturers are pushing the bounds of fab capabilities with smaller nodes, where defect-inducing particle-size contamination is very small. A major focus for Entegris is balancing flow rate, particle size retention, and the filter’s inertness in advanced-node fab operations.

Left to right: Bertrand Loy, Entegris chief operating officer; Greg Graves, Entegris chief financial officer; Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick; and Gideon Argov, Entegris president and chief executive officer

Entegris develops a broad product range of filtration and handling products because semiconductor manufacturing steps -- and those steps at different fabs for different products -- each have specific requirements. Some membranes are better for etch, some for lithography, some for chemical mechanical polishing (CMP), Cantor noted, and different pore sizes, end cap configurations, and other controls work best for one fab’s processes or another’s. Process knowledge is key in setting up these components of a fab to optimize manufacturing.

Entegris provides a range of products for purifying, protecting and transporting critical materials used in processing and manufacturing for the semiconductor, microelectronics, energy, life sciences and other high-tech industries. Entegris is ISO 9001 certified and has 33 manufacturing, customer service or research facilities in the United States, China, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Entegris currently employs approximately 350 workers in Massachusetts, and approximately 2,700 employees globally. Learn more at www.entegris.com.

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