A Fusion of Technologies

Our social infrastructure depends on semiconductor devices. Semiconductors have become an indispensible feature of daily life. Semiconductor manufacturers face a number of issues as circuit patterns have become increasingly shrunk as semiconductor device performance continues to advance. These trends have presented the opportunity for Central Glass to combine its long-cultivated technologies in glassmaking and chemical production to deal with the problem of circuit pattern collapse in the drying process after deionized water rinsing of wafer.

Social Issues: Contribution to the increasing density of semiconductor devices

Central Glass Engagement: Development and mass production of chemicals that resolve production issues associated with circuit pattern shrinkage.

Background to Development

Starting around 2005, with the push for greater shrinkage of semiconductors, there was a growing awareness of a major problem: the collapse of high aspect ratio circuit patterns due to the surface tension of the cleaning fluid in the drying process which follows deionized water rinsing of wafer. The main approach to dealing with this issue at the time was to reduce the surface tension of the cleaning fluid, but this approach has its limits because it is impossible to bring surface tension down to zero.
One of Central Glass's technologies is in the area of imparting water repellence to the surface of automotive glass. Semiconductors are made of the same material as glass – silicon – so we realized that we would be able to prevent pattern collapse by providing the surface of a semiconductor pattern with this same characteristic of water repellence. This development work resulted in a new product, Pattern KeeperTM (PK Agent).

Challenges in Development

At the earliest stage of PK Agent development, it was necessary to reduce water repelling processing from temperatures of over 200°C for more than 15 minutes down to room temperature and less than 1 minute. It took a lot of trial and error work to overcome each obstacle, but in the end, we achieved the desired processing parameters. Our customers also demanded that we deal with trace metals and particles to meet what for us were unprecedented levels of quality control. Our development efforts extended from packaging to manufacturing methods to analytical methods.

Approach to a Solution

By providing our customers with solutions to the problems they faced, we succeeded in developing a functioning product that the world had never seen before.
In the mass production phase, as well, we were able to draw on our experience in photoresist materials and semiconductor process gas production to maintain high quality. Our research and plant personnel worked hard in a spirit of collaboration and with great determination to resolve each and every problem. In the end, we were able to go into the mass production of several different grades of the product.

Keys to Success

In this development effort, we drew on the strengths of our glass laboratory and their skills in design development and functional evaluation, as well as the strengths of our chemical laboratory and their own skills in fundamentals of production and analytical technology development. The key to our success in this development project lies in the successful fusion of these two technology domains. Collaboration of the glass and chemical laboratories increased development paces while achieving a breakthrough technology. The result has been the creation of this uniquely innovative product.

Success in this project involved also coordination with the intellectual property department beginning in the development phase. It proved vital for us to secure strategic intellectual property assets.

Going forward, Central Glass will continue its engagement with R&D to provide new solutions to our customers by fusing glass and chemical technology.

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