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Manufacturing

Wafer demand (including MEMS & sensors, CIS, and power, along with RF devices) for More than Moore (MtM) is expected to reach more than 73M 8-inch eq. wafers by 2023, with an almost 10% CAGR, according to recent Yole Développement’s report “Wafer Starts for More Than Moore Applications”. Numerous megatrend market drivers will contribute to MtM devices’ growth: 5G (wireless infrastructure & mobile), mobile (including additional functionalities), voice processing, smart automotive, and AR/VR, and artificial intelligence.

 

Overall wafer demand from 2017 to 2023 2018 Yole

(Source: Wafer Starts for More Than Moore Applications report, Yole Développement, March 2018)

Yole Développement’s Manufacturing expert Amandine Pizzagalli, recently had the opportunity to interview Mike Rosa, Head of Marketing, 200mm Equipment Products Group (EPG) at Applied Materials, Inc. It was the opportunity to collect Applied Materials’ vision about the More than Moore market, challenges, company’s position and more. Read more about it right now:

Amandine Pizzagalli: Can you introduce Applied Materials' product line, its history and current activity (product portfolio, applications addressed)?

Mike Rosa: Applied Materials had its 50th year anniversary last year. That’s an incredible milestone for the company during a period when the industry is undergoing so much change and growth – it’s a very exciting time at Applied right now and across the industry as a whole.

Today Applied Materials has a diverse product portfolio across both the Semiconductor (300mm / 200mm and below) and Display Manufacturing Markets. On the Semiconductor side, its core product platforms include: CVD, PVD, CMP, Etch, Inspection & Metrology (Semi, Mask and Solar), Electroplating, ALD, Ion Implant, Epitaxial Processes and RTP. Each of these platforms have a number of chamber technologies available that specialize in a different film or process technique. We have a number of cluster mainframe technologies also and while these differ from 300mm and 200mm, the main brands Applied Materials is known for are the Centura® and Endura®. Applied’s contribution doesn’t end in the front end, within the 200mm Equipment Product Group (EPG) Applied also has a number of products for the Subfab. From intelligent pump monitoring and control to zero footprint abatement products, Applied Materials has a number of products within its Fab and Environmental Solutions (FES) portfolio to keep the fab efficient, environmentally friendly and safe.

Within the 200mm EPG we’re focused on both traditional CMOS technologies and the growing More-than-Moore (MtM) applications segments. MtM is specifically characterized by device technologies such as MEMS, Power, Analog, Photonics, CMOS Image Sensor (CIS) – although this is largely 300mm today, and Wafer Level Packaging (at both 200mm and 300mm). Today and going forward, we see a strong demand for Power Technologies and Photonics Technologies bolstered by events such as the Electric Vehicle and 5G Communications mega trends. There’s also the increased photonics/optical device technologies evident in new applications such as Facial Recognition (FR) and 3D Sensing where small wafer size laser sources and detectors will drive significant growth in the smaller wafer sizes.

200mmEquipmentPortfolio AMAT Mar2018

(Courtesy of Applied Materials)

AP: Which market(s) mainly drive(s) Applied Materials’ revenue today?

MR: In FY17, Applied Materials total revenue reached $14.5 Billion USD.
Today the largest portion of Applied Materials’ semiconductor revenue comes from the Advanced Logic and Memory segments. The increasing prominence of technologies such as A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) have added to the growth of advanced microprocessor and memory technologies. These have driven a large part of our 300mm semiconductor revenue. When you look at the effects of the onset of these new markets we begin to consider advances in smartphone technology, automotive, communications and so on. The developments within each of these segments bring about their own technology drivers – for example, advancements in smartphone technologies have given rise to an increase in CIS manufacturing on 300mm (and to some extent 200mm), MEMS and RF Technologies (on multiple wafer sizes) have all increased in volume as a consequence of smartphone advancements. In fact we see 200mm and below wafer technologies as the highest growth wafer platform supporting smartphones today.

The Automotive sector is another great driver of new technologies. The push toward Autonomous Vehicles (many new MEMS and RF technologies including on board processing and memory to support advanced safety functions) and Electric Vehicles (new power technologies) have promoted both an increase in demand for wafer technologies and an increased demand for technologies at the smaller wafer sizes. We’re seeing that now in new technologies like Silicon Carbide (SiC) and Gallium Nitride (GaN) for high power applications in Electric Vehicles.

5G Communications is another tremendous area for growth where multiple new technologies in the Power and RF segments play a large part in enabling the infrastructure required. These advancements are taking place on 200mm and 150 mm wafer technologies.

AP: As the leader in the front-end semiconductor area, can you explain how Applied Materials is positioned in the More than Moore (MtM) areas such as MEMS & Sensors, Power devices, CMOS Image Sensors, LED devices, Photonics, 2.5D interposer?

MR: Today, while many of these technologies exist on 200mm and below wafer sizes much of this business falls within the purview of the 200mm Equipment Product Group. With the exception of Power Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS (BCD) and some Discretes, 2.5D Interposer, CMOS Image Sensors and some Photonics devices in the market – all other technologies in the MtM segment are manufactured on 200mm and 150mm wafer sizes today.

So, to support our customers on current and future wafer size requirements, we work across the company to share the domain knowledge acquired, for example in the 200mm group on MEMS or Discrete Power, with the 300mm group in order to ensure continuity of technology development onto the larger wafer sizes.

The ability Applied Materials has to enable a customer to come to us with a technology request at one wafer size and have us support that request across several platform technologies with both R&D and production solutions as that customer moves to a larger wafer size is rare. That’s the power of Applied Materials and it’s something I’m personally very proud to be part of during what is an extremely exciting time in the semiconductor industry. And it’s something we’re constantly working to improve as we acknowledge that in the MtM technology domain the ability for our customers to one day seamlessly transition between wafer sizes as being critical to their future success.

AP: Applied Materials’ equipment product portfolio is mainly dedicated to the front-end area. How do you leverage your front-end capabilities to More than Moore?

MR: At Applied Materials we consider all elements of MtM front-end semiconductor. What we often do however is take successful process and control technologies from the larger 300mm wafer node and scale those back to enable specific capabilities on the 200mm or 150mm wafer sizes.

Sometimes we do this as a starting point, though more often than not we find that additional hardware (HW) and process development is required to meet the needs of the ever demanding MtM application space. This additional development effort can often result in new technology development in the MtM segment that is then migrated back onto 300mm to further improve leading edge on wafer performance.

AP: Besides the cost and nodes, what are the main barriers in terms of technical specifications between the front-end area and MtM applications (MEMS & Sensors, CIS, Power, LED)?

MR: When dealing with the MtM segment applications we often encounter dimensions an order of magnitude larger than their advanced logic and memory counterparts. MEMS, Power Devices and other technologies frequently utilize films that are tens of micron in thickness or processes that require etch depths of hundreds of microns. Yes, while the node these devices reside at are typically > 0.5um the thickness of materials and structural members are significantly greater than typical CMOS technologies.

These differences while apparent in the device design have broader and more far reaching consequences than simply depositing more material or etching for longer times. The chamber technologies used in their production require redesign to accommodate the buildup of materials and/or byproduct (depending on the process in question). For example, in a thick dielectric application, the thick layers will require modifications to chamber cleaning procedures (to avoid material flaking or excess particle generation), wafer capture HW (would require additional spacing to avoid becoming stuck in place with the deposition of such thick materials) and other HW elements inside the chamber to maintain a production worthy process.

In another example, the fabrication of discrete Power devices may require a thicker front side and backside metal layer (5um, 10um or more thick). The typical CMOS Al metal layer might be 100nm thick – so there are significant changes to chamber HW required to accommodate these additional thicknesses. In this specific case, chamber HW needs to be redesigned for spacing and thermal management considerations, double side handling and so on. The ability to remain flexible as an organization to make these design changes is important in addressing the needs of a rapidly growing MtM industry segment. Then the ability to migrate these HW designs across wafer sizes and onto other platform and chamber technologies in the Applied Materials portfolio is a powerful strength.

Other than these, stress management, film uniformity, wafer handling, etc. – these are all challenges that are almost unique to the MtM segment.

AP: What are the competitive advantages of your products line, for the MtM area?

MR: The growth of the MtM area relies on our customers’ ability to create new device technologies that can be mass produced – our single greatest competitive advantage in the MtM area is that Applied Materials specializes in developing robust mainframe and chamber technologies that have been proven in high volume production. Bringing this capability to the MtM segment is tremendously valuable – combining it with an ability to develop new chamber technologies (such as RF/pDC PVD for Ceramic Films, Advanced PVD for High Dep Rate / Thick Aluminum Layers for Power Devices, High Dep Rate Silicon Epi for Thick Layers up to 150um, and so on) to meet the on wafer demands of the segment and then migrate those technologies to accommodate growing wafer size demands is equally powerful.

EnablingMTMTechnologies AMAT Mar2018

(Courtesy of Applied Materials)

AP: You are today very well established the semiconductor market, your positioning is quite unique in this industry: you have a complete, large product portfolio addressing all the front-end process and almost the overall process flow of the MtM with deposition, etching technologies. There are actually two main equipment processes missing in Applied Materials’ product portfolio: lithography tools as well as bonding systems; a couple of years ago, Applied Materials and TEL stopped the business combination agreement. Do you think a potential merger between Applied Materials or TEL could happen again?

MR: TEL is a great company with many great products and talented people. However, I have no insight into whether either company would look revisit that question.

AP: Does Applied Materials plan to expand and complete its product portfolio? If yes, do you plan to complete your product portfolio through acquisitions of specialist companies or by developing systems?

MR: Certainly Applied Materials is looking to meet the challenges of a growing MtM market segment and we look to do that through either organic or inorganic means. With many factors influencing the decision of one route over the other, all we can say is that yes, we’re always working hard to ensure our company is best positioned to serve our customers needs and in an ideal world we’ll do that in the shortest time to market possible.

AP: What are the next steps of Applied Materials growth in the MtM industry? What will be for you the major evolutions of your business in those MtM applications in the coming years?

MR: In coming years certainly, Applied Materials will continue to focus on developing chamber technologies to meet the growing and diverse needs of the MtM segment, working closely with both our customers and supply chain partners in developing new materials and processes required by future generation products. What would be the major business evolution for Applied Materials in MtM in coming years? It would have to be continuing to refine our MtM roadmap products and ensure that there are adequate infrastructure plans and collaboration across the company to continue RD&E on those road mapped items ahead of our customers who need to migrate to the larger wafer sizes. This is very important as the segment grows, the competition amongst our customers grows at the smaller wafer size and they look for volume stability or price competitiveness through the economies of a larger wafer size.

AP: How do you see the future of your equipment products portfolio for More than Moore applications?

MR: We see growth in specialized materials deposition and the ability to cater to all wafer sizes as being a key enabler for our customers going forward. This has different effects for different platform technologies – one in particular is Inspection and Metrology – here we see challenges growing in a dimensional sense, migrating advanced capability to smaller wafer sizes (and in some cases the novel development at 150/200mm back to 300mm).

AP: Do you think you could be challenged by your competitors in this area?

MR: Let me just say that I have tremendous respect for my competitors in the MtM space. The challenges faced are so large and varied across so many device types that each and every competitor in this space has, on a daily basis, a balancing act between R&D direction, resources and long term strategic focus. With the types of device technologies increasing so rapidly, there seems less and less time to develop the solutions needed by the customer by when they’re needed. So, increasing amounts of R&D spend are focused on a roadmap in concert with our customers to ensure we’re working on the right product technologies –for today and for future product generations. This is key and it’s becoming an increasingly resource intensive exercise as this segment grows.

AP: Which More than Moore applications among MEMS & Sensors, CIS, Power, LED, Photonics, do you see a high interest for further growth of Applied Materials’ revenue? What changes do you expect in the future?

MR: Amongst the device applications you have listed CIS is certainly one of the highest revenue applications currently served, existing primarily on 300mm. Next, would be Power, MEMS & Sensors, followed by LED and Photonics. In terms of future growth potential I believe we’re already seeing CIS growing tremendously in Smartphones (though levelling off somewhat in recent years) and the continued growth in Automotive is forecast to grow in support of new applications like ADAS, etc. In the future we’re witnessing changes in the way these devices are manufactured – for instance in CIS we’re seeing higher levels of Memory and Logic integration on 300mm. At the 200mm and 150mm wafer sizes, we’re seeing enormous growth potential as many of these smaller wafer size technologies such as GaAs, GaN, SiC, etc. are making their way into high volume applications through either Power or Photonics applications in things like EVs (Power Switching) or Smartphones/Data Networks / 3D Sensing (in things like Facial Recognition FR, or Photonics for Optical Networking). There’s no doubt the small wafer revolution has begun and Applied Materials wants to be there to ensure these critical device technologies are delivered to market on proven high volume production mainframe and chamber technologies.

AP: For which More than Moore application do you expect a high growth for the next few years for further investment in equipment?

MR: Power device technologies and Photonics. Without question the role that SiC and GaN will play in the coming years across Automotive, 5G Communications, Consumer and Industrial segments will be game changing. Similarly the III-V material sets that service optical applications will continue to grow dramatically – whether in data networks or through novel applications like FR, AR/VR, etc. - Our challenge is to ensure we have the right process and materials technologies in place and ready to support our customers ahead of that growth.

AP: What are the main end-applications that will drive the next growth?

MR: When we look to continued growth we first have to spend some time to consider the current megatrends affecting the industry. Today, Applied Materials is seeing those as things such as Electric Vehicles, Autonomous Vehicles, Mobile Technologies, 5G Communications, Big Data, A.I., and so on. Of course, within each of these there are high volume end user applications such as Smartphone, Electric Vehicles, ADAS, Data Centers and FR, VR/AR, Wireless / RF Technologies, etc. Then within each of these we have specific device level technologies and so on.

One of the key inflections we often look out for is the democratization of a technology – for example, we see the implementation of FR on the new iPhone as a major step – ramping of these technologies and proving them in a high volume application will drive their proliferation into other application areas. Soon, we will see them displace existing technologies such as fingerprint, etc. and keep in mind these are all small wafer size technologies!

AP: How does Applied Materials compete against Chinese capital in the More than Moore market?

MR: Of course China is a large part of the growth story for Semi at the moment and it’s no different in the MtM segment. For new applications in the MtM market we’re delivering value to the customer through new technology capabilities that are not easily replicated or that take years of investment to achieve and deliver reliably. This is what we’re marketing in China and around the world. It’s not always straightforward to compete with this simply on price. The second aspect of the value we bring to the local Chinese customer is our 200mm MtM development center in Xi’an, China. Having that local resource close to the customers in that region, allows them to stop by and inspect the tools, talk to our engineers to understand the processes and in doing so, we build customer confidence in the commitment Applied Materials brings to delivering the right solution.

AP: What is Applied Materials’ strategic focus for the Chinese business?

MR: Right now we’re watching the China market very closely as we do in all regions around the world. We’re looking for opportunities to engage early on new technology development and novel materials and processes. Our strategic focus is on new technology development. While, we also look to leverage our large support network and Applied Materials presence in China to make connections with the many customers that are spread over a large geographic region.

AP: According to you, what new future applications and promising markets can change the industry landscape and the positions of the leading equipment manufacturers in the More than Moore area?

MR: While there is significant activity in the 200mm space and increasing activity in the 150mm space – what will dramatically change the landscape is the migration of those on wafer technologies to 300mm. There are few companies in the world with the breadth of portfolio, talent and resources that can adequately support the MtM roadmap transition from small wafer sizes all the way to 300mm (and beyond). At Applied Materials, we’re well positioned to do just that.

INTERVIEWEE

MikeRosa Amat BWDr. Mike Rosa, Head of Marketing for the Equipment Product Group (EPG), Applied Global Services division of Applied Materials

Mike is currently Head of Marketing for the Equipment Product Group (EPG) within the Applied Global Services division of Applied Materials, Inc., The EPG is composed of New and Refurbished 200mm Semiconductor Equipment, Mask Technology Equipment, and Fab and Environment Solutions (FES) groups. Mike’s team within EPG is responsible for identifying key device level technology inflections and translating those into roadmap requirements for the continued development of equipment and processes in support of More-than-Moore (MTM) device technologies, all market sizing and forecasting activities, and finally marketing and communications for the overall group.

Mike brings over 20 years of technology focused product and business development experience in emerging technology segments. Prior to joining Applied Materials Mike held various contributor level and senior leadership positions within the United States and Australia, working for technology focused companies that include Xerox Corp., PARC Inc., Australian Microelectronics Centre (AMC) and National ICT Australia (NICTA). His technical qualifications include B.Eng (Hons) and Ph.D. degrees in Microelectronics Engineering and MEMS Design / Fabrication, respectively. In addition to his technical qualifications, Mike has an MBA with dual majors in Marketing / Business Strategy and a minor in Entrepreneurship. He has authored over 40 journal and conference publications and holds over 25 U.S. patents.

Sources: www.yole.fr  / www.appliedmaterials.com  

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