Lam Research Unveils Industry’s First Production-Ready PLD Tool

MEMS/Nanotechnology Semiconductor

The Fremont, California-based Lam Research Corporation, a leading supplier of semiconductor wafer-fabrication equipment and services, has announced the global market introduction of Pulsus™, believed to be the industry’s first and only known production-oriented pulsed laser deposition (PLD) tool currently available on the market.

The new Lam Research Corporation Pulsus™ production-oriented pulsed laser deposition (PLD) tool is designed to advance next-generation MEMS-based microphone and RF filter designs.

Available to select specialty device manufacturers, Pulsus is designed to advance next-generation MEMS-based microphone and radio frequency (RF) filter designs. It does so by delivering aluminum scandium nitride (AlScN) films with significant scandium content for enhanced specialty device performance and functionality within consumer electronics and automotive applications.

Enhancing Device Performance with Advanced Film Technology
RF filters are essential components for 5G, WiFi 6, and WiFi 6E network performance optimizations by increasing network band capacities and improving overall end-user experiences. MEMS microphones, with their high signal-to-noise ratio, are essential components of 5g device voice control and noise cancellations in their capabilities to capture even muted sounds accurately.

Pulsus utilizes advanced technology to deposit high-quality films that enhance RF filter sensitivity and MEMS microphone performance. The higher the level of scandium in the film, the better the device performs. Pulsus delivers films containing at least 40% scandium—the highest concentration available today. The films also feature low dielectric loss and twice the piezo coefficient of current sputtered films, optimizing electrical conversion for enhanced RF filter sensitivity and MEMS microphone performance. Additionally, enhanced piezoelectric qualities enable the substitution of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) with lead-free AlScN.

In Pulsus’s PLD process, an intense laser pulse strikes a target material, vaporizing it to create a dense plasma plume deposited onto a wafer in thin layers. This process ensures high-quality, uniform films with precise control over thickness and stress and marks the first commercial use of lasers for thin film deposition in high-volume manufacturing.

Noted Chris Carter, group vice president and general manager of the Customer Support Business Group at Lam Research,” Lam leveraged deep expertise in specialty semiconductor technologies, proven capabilities in deposition, and a strategic collaboration with CEA-Leti to bring this game-changing solution to customers on our production-proven 2300® platform. This new deposition technique can help advance device designs and accelerate product roadmaps in the specialty market.”

Unique Benefits for Specialty Technologies
Supported by Lam’s 2300 platform design, Pulsus offers exceptional film uniformity and quality at a reduced cost per wafer compared to conventional methods. This allows chip makers to enhance manufacturing yields and accelerate product development timelines. Additionally, Pulsus is capable of depositing a wide range of complex, multi-element materials beyond AlScN, which other methods cannot otherwise apply. This technological breakthrough allows Lam to address the evolving application demands of AR/VR and quantum computing further.

Of this new technology, Sothachett Van, head of investment and supplier partnership group for CEA-Leti, notes, “The Pulsus PLD system is unique in its ability to deposit numerous materials, including AlScN, with outstanding thin film properties. We are excited to see this technology mature into a high-volume manufacturing solution for piezoelectric MEMS devices.”

This addition expands Lam’s portfolio of deposition, etch, and single-wafer clean products for specialty technologies and further underscores the company’s ongoing commitment to driving innovation in the semiconductor industry.

To learn more about the Pulsus PLD system and other technologies available from Lam Research, please click here.

Source/Photo: Lam Research Corporation

About Lam Research Corporation
Lam Research Corporation is a global supplier of innovative wafer fabrication equipment and services to the semiconductor industry. Lam’s equipment and services allow customers to build smaller and better performing devices. In fact, today, nearly every advanced chip is built with Lam technology. We combine superior systems engineering, technology leadership, and a strong values-based culture, with an unwavering commitment to our customers. Lam Research (Nasdaq: LRCX) is a FORTUNE 500® company headquartered in Fremont, California, and with operations around the globe.