Winners 2016

Metrology Award

Philippe ReindersFolmer, General Manager, Benelux collects award from Richard Stevenson, Editor of Compound Semiconductor Magazine

Renishaw’s inVia Raman microscope is a high-performance spectrometer that enables the determination of crystal form, quality, and the nature of defects in SiC and other compound semiconductors, as well as the stress and free carrier concentration distribution. It acquires spectra incredibly quickly and generates Raman images which reveal chemical and physical information about samples.

The properties of silicon carbide are highly dependent on its crystal structure (it can exist in many polytypes), on the quality of the crystal, and on the number and types of defects present. Manufacturers of silicon carbide raw material and devices need to monitor and control these attributes to enhance yield.

The first step in controlling these parameters is to measure them repeatably and quantifiably. Raman spectroscopy is a non-destructive technique that can provide sub-micrometre-resolution information on the composition, physical structure, and electronic structure of materials. Raman microscopy can expose problems that can occur during the manufacture of substrates and the growth of epiwafers.

Analysis is non-destructive, can be of a tiny region or a whole wafer, and can reveal surface, and subsurface, information in three dimensions. Defects originating in the substrate can be discriminated from those just in the epilayer. This gives valuable insights into the origin of defects and can help guide work to eradicate or control them. Thanks to its efficient optical design and fast detectors, the inVia can map a 3-inch SiC wafer in minutes.

The inVia is an automated system with a built-in health-check feature and automated calibration that ensures it is correctly aligned. This makes it an easy-to-use instrument and a quick analysis option for industrial quality control. It provides key information about SiC in practical timescales and greatly extends the potential of Raman spectroscopy in SiC research and development.

The inVia’s new LiveTrack™ focus tracking technology opens up even more opportunities for advanced SiC research. The bowing of some SiC wafers, caused by stress, can be problematic for Raman mapping, however the inVia’s continuous real-time focus tracking system enables even highly-bowed wafers to be successfully mapped. With no sample preparation required, whole wafers can be analysed at any stage of the production process, and without damage to the sample being analysed.

The flexibility of the inVia enables it to also collect and analyse photoluminescence spectra, so both vibrational and electronic information can be obtained with just one instrument.

Whereas Raman analysis was previously considered a technique only of practical use to those versed in the art of optical alignment, the inVia confocal Raman microscope now opens up the opportunity to study all semiconductors and superconductors, improving understanding of strain, stress, defects, contaminants and crystal quality.


Judges Comment: "Raman spectroscopy has a reputation as a difficult, time-consuming technique. The InVia changes all that, making it easy and quick to gather Raman spectra and Raman maps."


Substrates & Materials Award

Denis Marcon (left), Business Development Manager and Yoga Saripalli (right), Ph.D, Team Leader Gallium Nitride collects award

imec's R&D program GaN-on-Silicon was launched to develop GaN technology towards industrialization. It brings companies in MOCVD growth and metrology equipment, substrate suppliers and IDMs together to push today’s GaN-on-Silicon technology to a higher level of maturity and reliability, and to explore new concepts for next generation GaN technology.

In 2015, breakthrough results have been obtained for dispersion-free buffers on 200 mm diameter substrates. Imec investigated three types of buffers and individually optimized them for forward and reverse leakage from 25°C to 150°C, crystal quality and bow control. For the optimization of the dispersion imec systematically used extensive trap spectroscopy to identify the physical nature and spatial location of the traps in the complex buffers. Imec selected the 200 mm GaN-on-Silicon buffers by qualifying the buffers for large area high-performance E-mode HEMTs and low-leakage/low turn-on voltage Schottky diodes in our 200 mm Au-free and CMOS tool compatible GaN platform process. To bring the technology to a higher level of technology readiness, imec shares industrial aspects such as cost of ownership, process uniformity and repeatability, statistical process control and yield, and substrate and device qualification from 25°C to 150°C with our partners.

While dedicated to continuously improve today’s GaN-on-Silicon technology, imec also prepares for next generation GaN technology. Based on its track record in GaN epitaxy for large diameter wafers, and the strong involvement of its industrial partners in MOCVD equipment and substrate suppliers, imec is well placed to identify the limitations and boundaries of the present GaN-on-Silicon technology, and to mitigate the inherent problems with the mismatch in thermal expansion coefficient between the silicon substrate and the GaN buffers, lattice mismatch and stress management. Next to the development and optimization of GaN buffers on top of engineered substrates and qualification on the power device level, engineering aspects like contamination control, substrate labelling and robot handling in the processing tools are addressed.

Fully processed 200mm GaN-on-Silicon Power Device Wafer.


Judges Comment: "These epiwafers will help to bring down the cost of GaN power electronics, and drive the growth of this sector."


High-volume Manufacturing Award

Dr. Frank Wischmeyer, Vice President Marketing & Business Development Power Electronics accepts the award.

The AIX G5+C is a complete solution addressing the epitaxy production needs of the GaN-on-Si LED and power device industry. In a bridge 8x150 mm & 5x200 mm configuration it focusses on the future’s most relevant wafer diameters for the production of blue LEDs and GaN Power HEMTs.

The product is resolving the common challenges of high-yield high-quality and high-throughput production of AlGaN-based material on large area Si (111 wafers in high volume manufacturing through two key innovations:

For the first time a MOCVD batch system is equipped with a fully automated wafer cassette-to-cassette loader. This tool simplifies the handling of large Si wafers in a fab environment and warrants production at highest yields. The wafers are loaded in 150 or 200 mm cassettes into a vacuum elevation chamber. On a customized separation station the wafer and the individual wafer carrier are combined and afterwards moved into the MOCVD chamber which is kept ready for process at high temperature. The innovative wafer loading sequence enables gross throughput advantage of up to 33 percent for a standard three hours HEMT process cycle.

A thermally activated gas etch of the MOCVD chamber was developed to fully remove all deposits from the inner reactor chamber parts. This etching cycle after a process run quickly restores the original reactor conditions which is instrument for highest process reproducibility and quality. Any cross contamination of the Si surface during the start of the process is eliminated leading to a defect free wafer bevel and meeting the strict defect requirements of large area chips. The complete process flow is managed through a new user Interface enabling for the first time a truly fully automated production.

LED and Power HEMT device manufacturers are searching for solutions to incorporate a complex MOCVD technology into standard CMOS lines for 150 and 200 mm manufacturing. Up to today the "human factor" had a strong influence on the performance of MOCVD related technology. Manual interaction with the system in process chamber maintenance actions and the manual loading of the wafers expose risks to system performance reproducibility epi-defects and epi-wafer level product yield. By introducing full automation and a full chamber reset by in-situ cleaning to the MOCVD process technology the "human" factor is reduced to a minimum.


Judges Comment: “Two great opportunities to slash manufacturing costs are to scale to larger wafers and switch growth to silicon substrates. With Aixtron's latest tool, both options are readily available"


Device Design and Packaging Award

Stephen Whitehurst, COO Angel Business Communications collects the award on behalf of Cambridge Electronics

Cambridge Electronics (CEI) was founded in 2012 with the mission to reduce the world's electricity consumption by developing new energy-saving solutions based on Gallium Nitride (GaN) electronics. Due to its intrinsic material properties, GaN transistors have the potential of reducing losses in power conversion by more than 50 percent while providing 10-fold increase in power density. Traditional GaN transistors are however normally-on, which makes them unsafe for power conversion.

CEI’s proprietary GaN technology features normally-off operation and is compatible with existing gate drivers to allow for easier incorporation in existing power electronics applications. CEI's GaN transistors are fabricated in standard silicon fabs, which enables much lower cost than conventional GaN devices, and both normally-on and normally-of transistors can be fabricated on the same die allowing unprecedented levels of system integration. Thanks to all these unique features, CEI's revolutionary technology is changing the form factor and increasing the efficiency of a wide variety of applications, including laptop power adapters and other power conversion circuits.

Judges Comment: "With developments such as Cambridge Electronics GaN transistors, the time has now arrived for GaN power electronics to fulfil its potential, and start taking significant market share from silicon."


Innovation Award

Kristijonas & Augustinas Vizbaras CTO & Head of Chip Technology collect trophy

SensAline is a low-cost small-footprint mid-infrared tuneable laser for spectroscopy and seeding applications. The heart of the laser is Brolis’ GaSb type-I gain-chip embedded in external cavity laser configuration. Such gain chip is based on direct optical transition in GaInAsSb quantum wells, resulting in highest possible optical gain, low-voltage and excellent gain-bandwidth product in the wavelength range at 2 microns and beyond. When integrated into external cavity configuration, such gain chip allows more than 100 nm of wavelength access per chip with a very narrow linewidth and high output power. Wavelength selection is achieved by rotating the diffraction grating that provides optical feedback back into the resonator. When the desired wavelength is selected, the grating is fixed and fine tuning is achieved with heatsink temperature, current and piezo element which deflects the diffraction grating on micron scale. This leads to a monolithic, mechanically stable single-frequency laser with enhanced fine tuning capability.

Such laser addresses the challenge of access to otherwise exotic wavelengths in the 2 – 3 micron range with unmatched performance. A single gain-chip can be used to cover > 100 nm of spectrum and < 10 gain chips for the entire 2-3 micron range. This allows to bring the product cost down due to the reduced number of wafer growths and fab runs required for each wavelength access. For instance, compared to DFB lasers, covering the same spectrum would require a new wafer growth every few nm resulting in high-cost.

Since the sensing market is an early stage emerging market, product such as SensAline allows access to high-performance light sources at exotic wavelengths at otherwise unmatched cost. This enables new product and new application development that can use the availability of the new technology. While SensAline is a discrete laser and is focused on research lab application, the technology that is based upon can be scaled to mass-market and is compatible with integration with silicon to form on-chip silicon photonic devices. In order to reach such a stage there has to be a reasonable technology, application and market awareness built for which SensAline is ideal.

With SensAline on the market, the customers benefit easy access to otherwise difficult spectral range in combination with enhanced output configurability (3 tuning regimes, high CW output power and high finesse) compared to existing products. This availability will open new horizons in the field of molecular sensing, mid-infrared laser seeding and enabling health applications.

Judges Comment: "Brolis' devices promise to cut the cost of gas detection in the very important spectral band between two and three microns."

Key Dates 2016/2017

Nominations open 25th November 2016
Nominations close 9th January 2017
Shortlist announced 16th January 2017
Voting opens 16th January 2017
Voting closes 21st February 2017
Winners informed 21st February 2017
Awards ceremony 7th March 2017

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