ASMI buys US RF house for sub-7nm tech

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Dutch semiconductor equipment supplier ASM International has acquired Reno Sub-Systems, a US supplier of RF matching sub-systems.

Reno, based in New Jersey, designs and sells RF matching sub-systems. The matching networks and RF generators will be used for ASM’s plasma tools.

Reno has developed a range of patented process control technologies for matching and instantaneous power for semiconductor manufacturing at 14nm and below. The latest GenMatch system integrates Reno’s solid-state Electronic Variable Capacitor (EVC) RF match and Precis generator technologies into a single unit for etch and deposition at 7nm process technologies and below. The systems have a footprint similar to a match alone, saving space on the process tool, and are faster, more repeatable and more reliable, with lower cost of ownership.

The GenMatch platform covers powers from 500W to 10kW and frequencies from 400kHz to 60MHz. The generator supports level-to-level pulsing, while the RF matching network matches impedance on each pulse, meaning every wafer sees the same frequency, unlike frequency sweep. AI and machine learning using the matching network’s extensive sensor and sampling capability further enhance system performance.

Proprietary, dual-stage heterodyne circuitry that enables a faster slew rate response from the detector stages of the control circuit. This provides a considerably more accurate measurement of pulsed RF signals.

Detection of fast transients at the output of the RF matching network avoids problems with micro-arcing in the plasma chamber that the etch or deposition tool would never identify. The RF generator can then control the power to the chamber to eliminate the micro-arcing.

The system includes the option to fully tune the plasma impedance, compared to standard frequency tuning approaches that can only tune limited plasma impedances, and then only the reactive part of the plasma impedance.

The combined system saves space on the process tool and only one location is required for power and water etc. The all-digital units allow for multiple communication protocols, Ethernet, EtherCAT and DeviceNet.

“Reno has a strong track record of bringing novel RF match technology to market, and the GenMatch is no exception,” said John Voltz, senior vice president of business development at Reno. “The high reliability of our EVC all-solid-state match equals RF generator reliability, making it now economical to put both in the same package. The GenMatch is a true RF power system that delivers plug-and-play performance, a first for plasma processing in advanced semiconductor manufacturing.”

Due to its limited size, the acquisition is not expected to have a significant impact on 2022 earnings.

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