Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Aixtron and Ovonyx announced a JDP for Atomic Vapor Deposition (AVD®) process technology to push scaling of next-generation phase change memory (PCM) products. Since it is expected to replace current high-density memory, PCM cells must be made dense and so companies like Samsung (Ref: BetaSights Newsletter 0001) and Numonyx require CVD-like processes for gap-fill instead of planar PVD.

Ovonyx works to commercialize its proprietary phase-change semiconductor memory technology originally invented at Energy Conversion Devices. “Aixtron’s leading market position in thin-film deposition equipment for the semiconductor industry provides an excellent platform for the competitive development of new phase change material by AVD technique for next-generation, high-density confined cell PCM device structures,” said Tyler Lowrey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ovonyx.

Tricent AVD chamber (source: Aixtron)

Tricent AVD chamber (source: Aixtron)

AVD is part of the portfolio of vapor-based deposition technologies held by Aixtron that allows for atomic-scale control of functional electronic materials. Aixtron’s exclusive TriJet vaporizer—core technology acquired in 2000—can handle precursors up to 300°C with pulsed injection. The single-wafer showerhead chamber (see Figure) can thus be supplied with a wide variety of precursors, including those with high-viscosity requiring temperatures over 200°C (the typical upper limit for conventional gas distribution systems) for necessary flow.

At SEMI’s SBC this year, Praxair indicated that there are currently ~25 companies proving ALD precursors. IDMs thus have a wide variety of materials to test, and Aixtron’s AVD tool allows for a wide temperature window to not eliminate precursor options. For the distant future, the company is already working with some IDMs on the feasibility of using alternate channel materials (III-V and II-VI) on Si wafers. An Aixtron spokesperson contacted by BetaSights stated that the company has already delivered multiple AVD tools for PCM beta process development to customers. –E.K.

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