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Tegal strikes Skyworks etch system deal

Skyworks has ordered a cluster tool from etch system specialist Tegal to aid the development and production of advanced GaAs devices.

GaAs transistor manufacturer Skyworks Solutions is to install a new cluster etching system at its 4-inch wafer facility in Newbury Park, CA.

Skyworks, which makes AlGaAs and InGaP HBTs, as well as the more advanced "BiFET" GaAs devices at the southern California fab, will use the tool to etch thin films such as SiN that are deposited onto compound semiconductor epiwafers in the chip manufacturing process.

Tegal CEO Thomas Mika said that Skyworks ordered the high-density reflected electron (HRE) etching system because it offers some unique capabilities, such as low-temperature etching at high speeds and with good selectivity.

To manufacture the advanced BiFETs, which combine the functionality of HBTs and FETs on the same substrate, Skyworks uses a hybrid epitaxial structure (see magazine feature article for details).

In the manufacturing process, dry etching is used to define the emitter and base opening in the HBT, and also to isolate the FET and the HBT elements of the BiFET structure.

Skyworks is ramping up the production of a range of GaAs chips for wireless applications to meet the demands of customers in the fast-growing sector, and recently signed a supply deal with Broadcom, the leading vendor of chipsets for wireless LAN connections.

That recent deal is focused on the WiMAX broadband wireless connectivity protocol, also known as 802.11n, where the stringent demands on amplifier linearity are well matched to GaAs device capability.

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