As a new source of income after polysilicon and metal engravers
Dry etching equipment maker APTC was developing 300mm oxide etching equipment with the aim of offering it for demo text in 2023, TheElec has learned.
Etching is a front-end process in wafer fabrication where the parts of the wafer that are not needed after circuit patterns are drawn are etched.
An oxide film and a gate film are formed on the wafer during fabrication and a photoresist is deposited over these two films. The gate film uses metal or polysilicon as the material. There are different etching equipment for each of these materials, from oxide, polysilicon to metal.
APTC has proposed etching equipment that uses a plasma source to first etch the polysilicon. In 2020, it succeeded in commercializing metal engraving equipment.
The OEM began development of the new TIGRIS oxide etching equipment last year.
He started drawing the hardware plan of the equipment last year and started full-scale development this year.
Etching processing accounts for 30% of the front-end process in wafer fabrication and is in high demand by chipmakers.
SK Hynix, APTC’s biggest customer, spends 3 trillion to 4 trillion won a year on engraving equipment. Etching equipment for polysilicon and oxide are the most widely used.
Last year, APTC recorded revenue of 178 billion won, an increase of 91.4% from 2020.
Meanwhile, APTC is also developing new polysilicon etching equipment called Leo WS, which is expected to be released sooner than TIGRIS.
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