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12 December 2007


Ulvac dry etch tool boosts LED/laser throughput fivefold

Ulvac Inc of Chigasaki, Kanagawa, Japan has added to its APIOS NE Series of dry etching systems with the launch of the NE-950 system for the mass production of LEDs and laser diodes (LDs). Shipments of the APIOS NE-950 start this month, with the aim of selling 30-40 units in 2008 (at a price is ¥120m each).

Compared to Ulvac’s existing systems, improved operation has boosted productivity by up to fivefold, accommodating five 100mm (4-inch) wafers rather than just one, 21 two-inch wafers rather than just eight, or nine three-inch wafers rather than just four. Also, automated wafer transfer equipment from cassettes to trays is available as an option.

The NE-950 can provide hardware and processes to process GaN, InP and GaAs materials, as well as other materials such as sapphire, SiC, noble metals, and oxide films.

Ulvac says it achieves high reliability through using star electrodes (patent no. 3429391) to avoid depositions accumulating on the RF charging windows and through surface treatment of the inner walls of the chamber, temperature control, and deposition measures for vacuum exits.

For application to laser diode processing, Ulvac says that its magnetic-field-assisted magnetron ICP plasma source (Inductive Super Magnetron: patent no. 3188353) is capable of high-precision and anisotropic etching while controlling the plasma density and evenness.

The NE-950 can select either single-wafer or multi-wafer operation and can also control etch depth to a high precision through optical interferometer. Moreover, the star electrodes also prevent the optical interferometer window from becoming dirty, aiding the stability and reproducibility of etching.

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