This week’s online forum with Alchimer’s executive team, Steve Lerner, CEO; Kathy Cook, Director of Business Development; and Claudio Truzzi, CTO, offered the opportunity for unique insight into company’s core technology, AquiVia, and how it addresses limitations of traditional dry processes for TSV metallization. As the format encourage reader participation, lively discussion ensued between some the technology experts and potential adopters of the technology. Key take-aways are summarized here.
First of all, while the primary differentiation between Alchimer’s core technology and traditional deposition processes it sets out to replace is the wet vs. dry approach, Both Lerner and Truzzi stressed that an additional differentiator is that traditional processes rely on actually depositing material layers, while electrografting involves a surface reaction that allows for molecular growth on the immersed surface, either horizontally or vertically. This elegant process can be performed using standard industry equipment, offers conformal coating of vias regardless of the aspect ratio or smoothness of side walls, and results in an overall cost and materials reduction.
Rozalia Beica, director of technology R&D at Maxim Integrated Products, asked for insight into AquiVia’s insulator step, and how its material characteristics compare with insulator’s currently available, as well as what types of wafers it applied to. In response, Cook displayed a chart demonstrating the similar properties between the AquiVia insulators and traditional ones. She also noted “Most of our work to date has been completed on p-doped wafers, but we have recently been doing work on n-doped substrates as well.”
Michelle Bourke, Business Development Manager of Surface Technology Systems was particularly interested in the technologies conformal capabilities, regardless of the depth of scalloping resulting from DRIE processes. Cook replied that since AquiVia can accommodate any scallop depth, “it allows customers to drastically increase etch rates.” Scott Pozder, of Privatran, followed on that question, wondering about how the process accommodates hard mask under cuts. Truzzi reiterated (and illustrated) that due to the “growth” nature of the process, any topography can be accommodated, including sever undercuts.
According to both Cook and Lerner, the challenge this start-up faces is not proving the technology itself, but initiating a paradigm shift in a conservative industry. “One of our greatest challenges is letting the industry know that this technology is available so that customers don’t have to let their design rules be dictated by limitations in traditional semiconductor equipment,” notes Cook. So expect to be hearing a lot more from Alchimer, beginning next week’s at IEEE 3D Integration Symposium, the IWLPC in October, and the RTI conference in December, and here on the pages of 3D InCites.