Posted: October 8, 2009

French Aerospace Institute Chooses STS Oxide Etcher

(Nanowerk News) Surface Technology Systems plc (STS), a leader in plasma process technologies for manufacturing MEMS and advanced semiconductor devices, today announced that they have received an order from Onera (Office National d'Etudes et Recherches Aerospatiales) for an APS plasma tool for deep oxide etching. This inductively coupled plasma (ICP) - based source, originally launched 10 years ago, has been specifically modified to overcome the limitations of conventional ICP sources with respect to etch rates, mask selectivity and process cleanliness.
Onera is the French national aerospace research center. It is a public research establishment, with eight major facilities in France and about 2,000 employees, including 1,500 scientists, engineers and technicians. Onera was created by the French government in 1946 to conduct aeronautical research and support the commercialization of this research by national and European industry. Over the years Onera has played a pivotal role in the development of such technology success stories as the Concorde supersonic transport and Mirage fighters, followed shortly by Airbus, helicopters and the Ariane launcher.
"We were surprised by the ability of the APS to etch the deep oxide features required for our research here in Onera," explained Olivier Le Traon, head of Sensors and Technology Unit, Onera. "We are looking at applications, such as MEMS motion sensors in challenging aerospace environments, which require through-wafer etching of quartz, and deep etching of other oxides or piezoelectric crystals, and STS were the best supplier at that time who could satisfy our requirements. Thanks to the financial support of the Ile de France Region, this investment will allow us to develop innovative technologies needed for our research in the field of advanced MEMS."
David Haynes, Business Services Director of STS replied, "While STS will always be best known for its market-leading deep silicon etch technology, it is important to remind the semiconductor community that we can also offer superior processing capabilities and years of experience in the other technologies such as oxide etching or plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition. Our technologies, expertise and choice of wafer handling options mean we can offer cost-effective R&D tools with advanced processing capabilities required by leading institutes such as Onera, who work at the forefront of innovation."
About Surface Technology Systems plc
STS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Precision Products Co., Ltd designs and manufactures a range of highly specialized systems incorporating innovative technology used in the production of semiconductors and related devices and is a leader in plasma based etch and deposition technologies for processing non 'mainstream' semiconductor devices. STS serves a range of applications in several sectors within the telecommunications, data storage, advanced packaging, MEMS and Nanotechnology.
STS is the market leader in deep silicon etching for the growing advanced packaging and MEMS market, where it offers patent-protected technology. In addition, STS has a strong presence in each of its other served markets and distributes its process solutions worldwide through an experienced sales and service operation. The Group currently markets in over 30 countries and has an installed base of over 950 systems.
Source: Surface Technology Systems (press release)
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