Driven by movements toward further miniaturization and increased functionalities, megatrend applications such as artificial intelligence (AI), 5G, and augmented reality (AR)/virtual reality (VR) are creating huge business opportunities and contributing to the growth of More than Moore (MtM) devices.
Fabricating the next generation of MtM devices with more stringent requirements needs systems with enhanced technical specifications.
Consequently, the total equipment market for permanent bonding, lithography, and temporary bonding & debonding processes, which generated revenue of more than US$450 million in 2017, is expected to reach more than US$850 million by 2023 with a 10% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over this period.
Permanent bonding has already been implemented in mass production in a wide range of More than Moore devices, such as CMOS Image Sensors, MEMS devices and SOI manufacturing as well as LED devices. Although the W2W permanent bonding market is mostly driven by CIS imaging, it is expected to be fueled by the emerging CIS products such as global shutter and Time-of-Flight (ToF). Meanwhile, new mainstream semiconductor applications such as 3D NAND and 3D SoC are likely to strongly push the growth of the W2W bonding market over the next five years and thus to change it.
Yole Développement (Yole) just released a syndicated report, Bonding and Lithography Equipment for More than Moore Devices. Amandine Pizzagalli, Yole Technology and Market Analyst specialized in semiconductor manufacturing, is the author of this report. She recently had the opportunity to meet with Paul Lindner, Executive Technology Director, and Thomas Uhrmann, Business Development Director, at EV Group (EVG), leader in the W2W permanent bonding market to get their vision and perspective on the future permanent bonding market trends.
(Source: Bonding and Lithography Equipment Market for More than Moore Devices – Oct. 2018 – Yole Développement )
Amandine Pizzagalli (AP): Please briefly introduce EVG, its history and current activities:
Paul Lindner (PL) & Thomas Uhrmann (TU): EV Group is a leading supplier of wafer bonding, lithography and nano-imprint equipment for the 3D/advanced packaging, MEMS and semiconductor markets. For nearly 40 years, EVG has been at the forefront in developing processes and solutions that enable our customers to successfully commercialize their new product ideas in the areas of micro- and nano-electronics.
In wafer bonding, we recently introduced our next-generation bond aligner – SmartView NT3 – into the market, enabling 100nm alignment. The SmartView NT3 aligner provides a 2-3X improvement in wafer-to-wafer alignment accuracy (<50 nm translation placement) as well as significantly higher throughput compared to the previous-generation platform. This enables our customers to produce next-generation 3D integrated devices with the highest interconnect density needed for memory stacking, 3D systems on chip (SoC), backside illuminated CMOS image sensor stacking, and die partitioning.
AP: Which markets mainly drive EVG’s revenue today?
PL & TU: EVG has been a pioneering company for equipment and process solutions in MEMS as well as 3D/advanced packaging. These two markets are also the main revenue drivers today for EVG. In fact, “More than Moore” (MTM) applications had tremendous growth over the past several years with initial products being released to the market. In the coming few years we expect strong double-digit growth in this market. Additionally, we will see several new devices and integration processes enabling MTM in different areas.
AP: EVG has developed a broader bonding product portfolio dedicated to ‘More than Moore’ devices (MTM). Please describe EVG’s involvement in the permanent bonding market for MTM devices?
PL & TU: Depending on the integration density and application, the MTM market can be segmented into 3D SIP (system in package), 3D SIC (stacked IC), 3D SoC (system on chip) as well as 3D IC, where the interconnect density is increasing from tens of micrometers (microns) pitch to several nanometers pitch, respectively. Along with these requirements, the bonding technology is different. For 3D SIP and 3D SIC, bonding technologies include temporary bonding and debonding for thin die, TSV and interposer generation, followed by integration at the die level using collective die to wafer bonding. On the other hand, for 3D SoC, fusion and hybrid bonding on the wafer scale is needed with a high demand for tight alignment accuracy of both wafers. Last but not least, 3D IC is adopting silicon layer transfer technologies and lithographic patterning for pitches in the double-digit nm range.
AP: What is the status of EVG in the ‘More than Moore’ devices and what changes do you expect in the future?
PL & TU: We are only at the beginning of MTM. Fewer manufacturers are actually able to follow “More Moore” (MM) and consistently scale lithographically to smaller design nodes. Furthermore, performance boosts by scaling are not obtainable for all parts of an IC anymore. Losses in low metal level wiring are becoming more dominant, for example. Here, MTM has proven its ability to increase performance, increasing the industry’s focus on integration, stacking and packaging. Partitioning of functional blocks and reintegration in the system or even package will enhance product development cycles and hence make them more competitive. Therefore, getting unit processes, such as permanent bonding, ready for integration will be an integral success factor for the future.
AP: How do you see the future of your overall bonding equipment business? How will EVG maintain its leadership and compete against major contenders?
PL & TU: Indeed, continuous inventions and innovations are key to staying ahead of the competition. Overall, we are reinvesting about 20% of our annual revenue in R&D. With this investment in new technology we are able to develop and refine new equipment and processes very early on. This provides our customers with an ideal environment for diversification against their competition. Therefore, we are offering a world class information security environment for our customers, where their new devices can be manufactured in our cleanrooms and test facilities at our headquarters in Austria, as well as in our demo labs in Tempe, Arizona in the US as well as Yokohama in Japan. Our information security management system has achieved ISO27001 certification several years ago.
Another important asset of EVG is our “can do” attitude. We are always ready to enable our customers’ equipment needs, supporting their R&D pipelines with new equipment technology. In addition to inventing new technologies, we have the expertise to implement these processes in high volume manufacturing for our customers. This mindset of EVG is also reflected in our “invent-innovate-implement” company mission.
AP: What do you consider will be the major evolutions of the bonding business in the coming years?
PL & TU: We have seen many adoption cycles in wafer bonding in previous years, driven by trends in the industry. A huge growth driver has been MEMS, where consumer products for inertial measurements triggered a big evolution in bonding. Starting in 2010, image sensors in smartphones and consumer devices that used fusion bonding for backside illuminated image sensor manufacturing triggered another major evolution.
Today, we have supplied our fusion and hybrid bonding capability to most IDMs and foundries worldwide. With the current market development in MTM and also MM, we are very well positioned for the next adoption cycle of wafer bonding.
Paul Lindner is EV Group’s executive technology director. He heads the R&D, product and project management, quality management, business development and process technology departments. Customer orientation throughout all steps of product development, innovation and implementation in a production environment are among the main goals of EV Group’s technology groups headed by Lindner.
Lindner joined the company in 1988 as a mechanical design engineer and has since pioneered various semiconductor and MEMS processing systems, which have set industry standards. His responsibilities included the design of semiconductor processing systems and tooling for custom applications, including innovative system designs pioneered in the first commercially available wafer bonders, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) bonding systems and precision alignment systems for 3D interconnect applications. Prior to his appointment as executive technology director, Lindner established a product management department at EV Group. During that time, he was involved in marketing, sales, manufacturing and on-site process support.
Dr. Thomas Uhrmann is director of business development at EV Group (EVG) where he is responsible for overseeing all aspects of EVG’s worldwide business development. Specifically, he is focused on 3D integration, MEMS, LEDs and a number of emerging markets.
Prior to this role, Uhrmann was business development manager for 3D and Advanced Packaging as well as Compound Semiconductors and Si-based Power Devices at EV Group. He holds an engineering degree in mechatronics from the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg and a PhD in semiconductor physics from Vienna University of Technology.
Amandine Pizzagalli is a Technology & Market Analyst, Equipment & Materials – Semiconductor Manufacturing, at Yole Développement (Yole). Amandine is part of the development of the Semiconductor & Software division of Yole with the production of reports and custom consulting projects. She is in charge of comprehensive analyses focused on semiconductor equipment, materials and manufacturing processes.
Previously, Amandine worked as Process engineer on CVD and ALD processes for semiconductor applications at Air Liquide. Amandine was based in Japan during one year to manage these projects.
Amandine graduated from CPE Lyon (France), with a technical expertise in Semiconductor & Nano-Electronics and holds an electronics engineering degree followed by a master’s in semiconductor manfuacturing technology from KTH Royal institute of technology (swenden).
She has spoken in numerous international conferences and has authored or co-authored more than 10 papers.
More than Moore devices fueled by megatrend applications will strongly drive the growth of the lithography, permanent bonding, and temporary bonding and debonding equipment market. – Get more here