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21 May 2018

Siltectra’s new patents extend SiC process to split substrates with sub-100μm material loss

© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.

Siltectra GmbH of Dresden, Germany, which provides wafering technology solutions and services, has added three new patents to its global portfolio of intellectual property (IP).

The first patent covers new technical capabilities relating to the firm’s COLD SPLIT laser process and extends the approach to non-polymer applications. The second patent secures COLD SPLIT for all substrate materials. The third patent covers an extension of the firm’s silicon carbide (SiC) process capability to split materials with sub-100μm material loss, regardless of vendor-specific SiC crystal-growing processes.

Siltectra says that its effort to drive down SiC material loss aims to help accelerate adoption of the substrate for power devices and other ICs. Up to now, high cost has inhibited fast adoption. Cost reductions enabled by Siltectra’s technology could speed deployment of SiC for a broader range of applications, such as electric vehicles (EVs) and 5G technology, reckons the firm.

Siltectra’s IP portfolio now consists of 70 patent families with 200 patents. Collectively, the patents cover every innovation associated with the firm’s laser-based wafer-thinning process.

The growth of Siltectra’s IP portfolio reflects its progress toward commercializing its solution. The firm says that COLD SPLIT can thin wafers to 100μm and below in minutes with high precision and virtually no material loss. For thinning wafers, integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) have previously relied on grinding, which is a slower, less precise process that generates material loss and reduces overall yield. In contrast, COLD SPLIT is a much faster laser-based thinning approach with higher yield and strong cost-of-ownership benefits, claims the firm.

In a development announced in February, Siltectra reported a new capability for COLD SPLIT that increases the value of the technology for cost-sensitive IDMs, it is said. Due to the novel adaptation of ‘twinning’, the firm demonstrated that COLD SPLIT can reclaim substrate material generated (and previously wasted) during backside grinding and create a second fully optimizable bonus wafer in the process. Siltectra validated the development by producing a gallium nitride (GaN) on SiC high-electron-mobility power transistor (HEMT) device on a split-off (twinned) wafer at its new facility in Dresden. The HEMT showed results that were superior to a non-COLD-SPLIT-enabled HEMT when measured for CMP characterization, as well as GaN epi, metal layer and gate layer outcomes.

The developments have drawn interest from IDMs as well as substrate manufacturers and even providers of certain process technologies, claims Siltectra.

“Like all technology companies, Siltectra’s leadership and future growth depend on continually innovating to extend our capabilities and further enrich the value of our solution,” says CEO Dr Harald Binder. “Naturally, therefore, it’s a strategic priority to protect the innovations along the way so that our competitive differentiation and enabling advantages remain strong in all regions where customers are located. Our robust IP portfolio reflects this priority,” he adds.

“Our R&D team is relentlessly pushing the limits of our COLD SPLIT technology to fulfill its enormous potential,” says chief technology officer Dr Jan Richter. “The additional patents further strengthen our market position, while enabling us to drive COLD SPLIT’s material loss far below 50μm.”

See related items:

SILTECTRA validates twinned SiC wafer produced using COLD SPLIT laser-based wafer thinning technique

Tags: SiC

Visit: www.SILTECTRA.com

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