Lam Research Corporation's New 2300® Coronus™ Plasma-based Bevel Cleaning System Removes Edge Defects to Enable Higher Yields
FREMONT, Calif., November 28, 2007-Lam Research Corporation (NASDAQ: LRCX), a major supplier of semiconductor wafer fabrication equipment and services, today announced the production release of its new Coronus plasma-based bevel cleaning system. Designed to reduce yield loss caused by defects that originate near the wafer's edge, the Coronus system combines the multiple material cleaning capability of plasma with a proprietary confinement technology that protects the die area. Available in both 200 mm and 300 mm configurations, the system is built on the Lam Research production-proven 2300 platform with Dynamic Alignment, which provides a repeatable target cleaning area - wafer to wafer and lot to lot. The target cleaning area can be defined precisely on the top and bottom edges of the wafer independently. Several major semiconductor customers are now moving into production with the Coronus bevel clean system.
"As the plasma etch market leader, we are leveraging the experience of a global installed base of greater than one thousand 2300 platforms with our introduction of the Coronus system. The platform's proven wafer handling accuracy is enabling our Coronus customers to manage the wafer edge with the same level of precision and control they demand of advanced patterning processes in the fab," said Jeff Marks, Lam Research vice president of New Businesses. "With introduction of the Coronus system, edge defects can now be managed throughout the wafer flow with a single system. Customers have attributed significant defect reductions to employing the Coronus system for wafer edge cleaning, and we believe that controlling the wafer edge throughout processing will lead to lower defects and higher overall yield."
"The Coronus product allows using one system to manage edge defectivity following a wide range of semiconductor processes," said Daniel Liao, Lam Research group vice president, Asia Pacific, "and customers who have qualified the system for production are anticipating improved yield and yield stability. In working with customers, they see significant opportunity to reduce defects and enhance yield by actively managing the wafer's edge at multiple points in both front- and backend processes."
The wafer edge, where deposited films terminate and overlap with underlying materials, has been identified as a primary source of defects. The problem is exacerbated as manufacturers seek to reduce edge exclusion in order to increase the number of die on the wafer. Although the greatest impact of edge defects is on adjacent die, material from edge defects can damage die at any point on the wafer. Mechanical-, chemical-, and laser-based cleaning methods lack the precise control and universal applicability of plasma cleaning. Initial evaluations of the Coronus system have focused on edge defects in FEOL (front-end of line) processes for STI (shallow trench isolation) and contact formation. Immersion lithography, with its potential for transporting materials from the edge to the active area, and multiple strategies in dual damascene processes in BEOL (back-end of line), are also candidates for significant yield gains from reduced edge defectivity.
Lam Research Corporation, one of Fortune magazine's "100 Fastest-Growing Companies" in 2006 and 2007, is a major supplier of wafer fabrication equipment and services to the world's semiconductor industry and market share leader in plasma etch. Lam Research's common stock trades on The NASDAQ Global Select MarketSM under the symbol LRCX. Lam Research is a NASDAQ-100® company. For more information, visit our web site at http://www.lamresearch.com.
Statements made in this press release which are not statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements and are subject to the safe harbor provisions created by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements relate, but are not limited, to the Company's expectations regarding customer demand for and satisfaction with the Coronus cleaning system; the Company's ability to manufacture and ship commercial quantities of production-ready Coronus systems; the anticipated efficacy of the Coronus system to reduce wafer yield loss and improve yield, to reduce defects in wafer-edge dies, to protect the die area on a wafer, to provide a repeatable target cleaning area, to sufficiently define the target cleaning area on the top and/or bottom edges of a wafer independently, to provide the same or similar degree of precision and control with regard to wafer-edge cleaning as customers demand of wafer patterning processes, and to reduce wafer-edge defects following or in combination with a wide range of semiconductor manufacturing processes; the Company's expectations regarding customers' realizations of anticipated benefits from use of the Coronus system; the Coronus system's ability to provide and maintain a technical and/or cost-effective competitive advantage over existing or future competing products; and the ability of the Coronus system to provide wafer yield benefits in process environments in addition to those in which the Coronus system has been successfully evaluated to date. Some factors that may affect these forward-looking statements include: the market acceptance of the Coronus system, the system's performance in the field, and the performance of competitive products and the development of competing new products or technologies. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and are subject to uncertainties and changes in condition, significance, value and effect as well as other risks detailed in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including specifically the report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 25, 2006, and Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 25, 2007, which could cause actual results to vary from expectations. The Company undertakes no obligation to update the information or statements made in this press release.
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