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Ereztech: Ready For Business

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Amid trying times, precursor supplier, Ereztech, has opened at US manufacturing facility to deliver more materials to more compound semiconductor manufacturers.

While the coronavirus pandemic might be a surprising time to launch a manufacturing facility, Ereztech has done just this. In May this year, the manufacturer of organometallic precursors - critical to semiconductor thin film deposition - opened its new R&D lab and manufacturing facility in Wisconsin, US.

The new operation adds US manufacturing capability to Ereztech's Russia-based distribution network of precursor manufacturers and manufacturing operations. And it also allows the company to synthesize more exotic and reactive precursors based on pyrophorics and noble metals.

“Coronavirus and the subsequent economic challenges certainly add a layer of uncertainty but we see this only as a short- to mid-term problem,” says Ereztech chief executive, Roman Rytov. “This expansion brings our advanced and cost-efficient precursor development closer to our US customers allowing for a broader product selection and accelerated development.”

“We started the process for setting up the facility back in 2019 and nobody predicted that this [pandemic] would happen but we are very positive about the future,” he adds.

Ereztech chief executive, Roman Rytov.

Indeed, Rytov and his Ereztech colleagues are probably well-placed to deal with these uncertain times. Without a doubt, working with organometallic precursors is hardly a predictable business, with these reactive complexes often delivering surprising chemistry.

As Rytov puts it: “We've witnessed curious stories such as synthesising a molecule which the customer anticipated being solid and the end result was a liquid... This type of chemistry often surprises, but for us, this is normal.”

Indeed, for every ten new molecules that the company initially synthesises - to assess for stability and yield - only one will be suitable for further processing and scaling. So with this in mind, Ereztech has developed its so-called 25 grams program, which promises at-cost synthesis of as little as 25g of a target molecule, while protecting intellectual property for its customers.

According to Rytov, the program allows molecule characteristics to be analysed swiftly and efficiently and can help to provide reliable and predictable pricing for larger molecule quantities.

“We believe this program is unique amongst precursor materials manufacturers,” he says. “Due to the high risk of failure at this stage of precursor development, we decided to find out the absolute minimum viable amount of a molecule you need to synthesise, to understand how it works, and at 25g, this doesn't come with a large price tag.”

And if the 25g test batch is stable and meets purity standards, then Ereztech can refine the compound and eventually scale production to thousands of kilograms. “Customers can get 25g of a new molecule for as little as US$1500,” says Rytov. “We've had tens and tens of molecules that have gone through this process... and molecules that have come out of this program and gone into volume production with customers now make up some 50% of our overall business.”