Top 5 Most Costly Chemical Mechanical Polishing (CMP) Mistakes - AxusTech

Top 5 Most Costly Chemical Mechanical Polishing (CMP) Mistakes

Apr 11, 2024 | News

Review of the Most Common Mistakes found in Today’s Chemical Mechanical Polishing (CMP) Equipment and Services, as well as Tips for Selecting the Right Supplier

What is CMP?
CMP or Chemical Mechanical Polishing is a necessary development step in the fabrication of semiconductor wafers, which are the foundation of microchips that are used to power modern day electronics. There are limited options in today’s market for chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) tools and process development or foundry services. Most of the time, clients that require these tools and services are stuck with a one-size-fits-all approach. This is not only costly monetarily, but costly in terms of the technologies companies are not able to create with these limitations. In this blog, we dive deeper into the downsides of an inefficient CMP tool, and the inability to customize your CMP process development.

Process Temperature Control (PTC):
Is your CMP equipment unable to regulate the pad temperature when running at high pressure velocity (PV) values? Uncontrolled pad temperature processes can lead to high wafer surface level defects resulting in damage of semiconductor wafers, and lead to project delays. It’s important to work with a supplier that offers innovative custom solutions to better manage the process variables, especially with demanding materials like SiC (Silicon Carbide) where the CMP process requires high removal rates and low slurry flow.

Cost-Per-Square Foot:
Do you know how many semiconductor wafers your CMP tool currently processes for the space it requires? Most CMP tools on the market have an inefficient cost-per-square foot ratio, and this drastically decreases throughput (the number of wafers processed.) If you’re investing in a tool, you want to be able to make sure it has a low cost-per-square foot ratio and a fast ROI.

Outdated & Inefficient Tools:
Most CMP tools are also built using less reliable, legacy technologies that do not meet today’s demanding requirements. Outdated CMP tools not equipped with the proper technology can ultimately damage semiconductor wafers due to machine mishandling and out of control polishing parameters. Many tools also only process a single wafer side per process, which can lead to additional productivity delays to complete the CMP steps required. Many emerging technologies require both wafer sides to be polished.

No Alerts or Fault Detection in Place:
Do your tools often cause damage to your semiconductor wafers without warning, resulting in extensive downtime and delays? Many CMP tools have no proper alarms or built-in fault detection which, if a tool has suddenly failed without warning, can lead to long and complex recovery that can easily consume extra resources and waste precious CMP consumables, for example. Having a tool that has strong built in alarms and fault detections for vital CMP parameters can prevent damage to both wafers and tools, saving money and time. This will result in a faster recovery as the alarms and faults will identify the tool specific area that needs attention, preventing any damage or wasted resources.

Inability to Customize Your CMP Process Development:
The inability to work with a supplier that can customize a process to fit your technology development requirements is costly, especially in terms of your ability to create new technology that may have unique requirements for the type of processing and materials used. Most CMP tool OEM’s only offer a one-size-fits-all approach, with limitations to wafer size options. If you’re looking to create technology that requires the ability to process different wafer sizes and thicknesses, or utilize different materials, this can limit your potential revenue.

Axus Technology is an OEM market leader in creating the latest innovations for CMP tools and process development services, all based in the USA. Our state-of-the-art technology is built to monitor PTC, prevent out of control polishing conditions and designed to be a true bridge tool for maximum flexibility. Our tools have the ability to polish and clean wafers which maximize throughput per-square-foot. We can polish either wafer side sequentially without having to rely on manual wafer flips, ultimately doubling the number of wafers processed.

Our goal is to customize and develop a CMP process that fits the needs of our clients. Our team is composed of a prestigious group of process and tool engineers along with wafer metrology experts that can help you identify your chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) needs and enable your latest innovations. We operate with clients in technology sectors such as 5G, Sensors, Semiconductors, III-V and II-VI Materials, Aerospace, Advanced Packaging, TSV, MEMS, LED, Precision Optical, Photonics, and Nanotechnology.