[Semicon Korea 2019 Exhibitor]
Merck, a German materials company, has released a cleaning fluid that is used in extreme ultraviolet (EUV) exposure processes. The company plans to develop next-generation exposure technologies such as Directed Self-Assembly (DSA) to improve performance and reduce costs.
"We are preparing to innovate with new material solutions at DSA and EUV," said Anand Nambiar, Global Head (senior vice president) of semiconductor solutions business at Merck. "We have released products for the EUV process as well as cleaning fluids for krypton fluoride (KrF) and argon fluoride (ArF) processes.” This is the first time Merck has introduced EUV cleaning solutions at exhibitions in Korea.
DSA uses a number of low-molecular compounds to cause a 'polymerization' and uses ‘copolymer’ that polymerizes two or more kinds of ‘monomer,’ the basic unit of a polymer (a polymer compound). The nanostructures can be aligned at 6 to 100 nm intervals through self-assembly. The industry expects to use DSA technology in combination with EUV.
EUV is the next-generation exposure technology to be used by Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and TSMC. Unlike conventional vacuum circuitry, it draws a semiconductor circuit. Because the wavelength of light is so short and difficult to handle, inspection and anti-contamination technologies must be added, including pellicles for mask protection. Merck has also combined scrub-free cleaning with KrF, ArF, and EUV. It plays a role in mitigating photoresist pattern collapse when making semiconductor circuits with high resolution.
It has various patterning materials such as anti-reflection coating, chemical shrinkage, and cleaning liquid. An anti-reflective coating helps control the reflectivity of light to draw circuits more accurately and quickly. It creates a capping layer to prevent contamination.
Extensive expertise in post-processing is one of Merck's strengths. "Through our local and global research and development (R & D) network, we are able to meet the new technology needs of our customers and produce robust chips and effectively manage cost increases," said Nambiar, Global Head of Merck. Successful R & D programs are a key component of Merck's business strategy. It helps identify projects with high growth potential and secure new markets. For example, in the field of deposition, research activities are being carried out in cooperation with each company that makes up the semiconductor ecosystem. It is a strategy to supply new material/process solutions and strengthen market position.
Merck also offers materials for memory semiconductors such as KrF thick film photoresists, metal oxide hard masks (MHM), Spinfil spin-on dielectrics, DRAM, and 3D NAND flash. "We are offering a variety of cost-effective options for creating products with a high height-to-surface ratio, such as 3D NAND flash," said Nambiar. "System semiconductors can be applied in less than 5nm."
"Merck's semiconductor solution business has grown significantly over the past two to three years and we expect it to gain market shares in the future," Nambiar said. "We are collaborating with a variety of partners to develop new materials, processes, and solutions for technological advancement," he added.
Meanwhile, Merck has entered the semiconductor materials business through the acquisition of AZ Electronic Materials in 2014. The company will continue to grow by providing various solutions related to process refinement.