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Posted: November 6, 2008

Aviza Ships First System to Leading European Research Center, Leti, for Spintronics and MRAM Development

(Nanowerk News) Aviza Technology, Inc., a supplier of advanced semiconductor capital equipment and process technologies for the global semiconductor industry and related markets, today announced the introduction of StratIon™ fxP, the world's first 300-mm ready Ion Beam Deposition system. The first system was shipped to CEA-LETI-MINATEC in Grenoble, France, one of Europe's foremost applied research centers in electronics and Spintronics. The StratIon fxP will be used to develop next-generation magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ)-based devices for applications including Magnetic Random Access Memory (MRAM), hard disk drive read heads or RF components. The system will also be used for the deposition of metal gates for advanced CMOS processes. In addition to the system shipment, Aviza and CEA-LETI have signed a three year joint development program covering the development of MTJ deposition processes for future MRAM and Spintronics devices.
The StratIon fxP system uses ion beam processing for the deposition of metal and dielectric thin films, and is the world's first ion beam deposition system for 300mm wafer manufacturing. Designed for high volume manufacturing silicon fabs, the system is based on production-proven hardware and software platforms and can be configured with three standard chamber types: preclean, oxidation and deposition. Additional Aviza deposition chambers such as atomic layer deposition (ALD) and magnetron PVD can be seamlessly added for additional flexibility. StratIon fxP offers low cost of ownership, high throughput and a smaller fab footprint compared to currently available systems used for MTJ deposition.
"Aviza's StratIon fxP system is an integral component of our Spintronics development process," said Dr. Laurent Malier, Chief Executive Officer of Leti. "By collaborating on Spintronics technology with equipment suppliers like Aviza, we believe we can deliver cost-effective and production-worthy solutions for future Spintronics devices as they make the transition to high volume manufacturing."
Aviza's ion beam deposition delivers key advantages over traditional magnetron sputtering approaches. Use of Aviza's patented M0RI plasma source enables ultra-low pressure deposition producing films, which are twice as smooth as those produced by currently available MTJ sputter deposition tools. Smoothness is a critical parameter in MTJ stacks, where the thinnest films are less than 10 angstroms. The StratIon fxP produces films with less than 2 angstroms rms roughness and less than 0.5 percent thickness non-uniformity on 300mm wafers.
"We are pleased to be in partnership with such a distinguished research center, as Leti," said Jerry Cutini, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aviza Technology, Inc. "We believe that combining both companies' technology expertise under this collaboration will help accelerate the adoption of MRAM and Spintronics technologies. Both Aviza and Leti will be well positioned to support IC makers in the MRAM and Spintronics arenas, as their focus shifts from research and development to volume production."
Spintronics Technology for Broadband Applications
Device scaling poses critical challenges for flash memory manufacturers, such as excessive electrical leakage at the 65nm technology node and below. Flash memory may fail to scale beyond 32nm technology and memory makers continue to look for alternative architectures.
MRAM offers a combination of non-volatility, near unlimited endurance, small cell size and fast read/write times, making it well placed to succeed flash memory in both discrete and embedded implementations. It also has the potential to eventually displace SRAM in cache memory or to be an alternative to NV-SRAM. Longer term high speed Spin Transfer Torque MRAM may challenge DRAM as primary memory in computers, and become the universal memory architecture.
Other MTJ-based devices are foreseen for high speed reconfigurable logic or tuneable RF components for opportunistic radio systems. Spintronics devices can be thus incorporated in a broad range of applications, including: mobile phones, mobile computing, PDAs, audio/video, sensors, smart cards, RFID, digital imaging, aerospace/military, networking and factory automation.
Spintronics Definition
Spintronics or magneto-electronics is an emerging technology which exploits the intrinsic spin of electrons in solid-state devices. Spintronics devices manipulate electron spin rather than electron charge, and work on the basis that electrons can be spin-polarized into one of two states. Examples of Spintronics-based devices include MRAM and hard disk drive read heads. Potential future applications include spin-based transistors.
About Aviza Technology, Inc.
Aviza Technology, Inc. designs, manufactures, sells and supports advanced semiconductor capital equipment and process technologies for the global semiconductor industry and related markets. The company's systems are used in a variety of segments of the semiconductor market, such as advanced silicon for memory devices, advanced 3-D packaging and power integrated circuits for communications. Aviza's common stock is publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Market (NASDAQ GM: AVZA). Aviza is headquartered in Scotts Valley, Calif., with manufacturing, R&D, sales and customer support facilities located in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Additional information about the company can be found at http://www.aviza.com.
About CEA-LETI
Leti, a CEAlaboratory located in Grenoble, is one of the main European applied research centers in electronics. More than 85% of its activity is devoted to research with 350 contracts a year. Since its creation in 1967, Leti has led to the creation of more than 30 start-ups in high-technology. The main areas of activity are micro- and nano-technologies for microelectronics (more Moore, More than Moore and Beyond CMOS), technologies, design and integration of microsystems, photonics and imaging technologies, micro- and nano-technologies for biology and health, communication technologies and nomadic objects.
Leti operates with an annual budget of 174 M and employs 1,000 people with, in addition, more than 600 external collaborators (postgraduates, research and corporate partners). Leti has 8,000m of clean rooms, an equipment portfolio worth 200 M and invests more than 40 M a year on new equipment. Leti has a dynamic Intellectual Property policy and has filed more than 200 new patent applications in 2007.
Leti is one of the main forces behind Minatec(R), Europe's premier Centre of Excellence in Micro- and Nano-technologies. Today, Minatec(R) sustains more than 4,000 researchers, industrial partners and teaching staff in Grenoble. For more information: www-leti.cea.fr
Source: Aviza Technology (press release)
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