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News Article

ClassOne extends Solstice Surface Prep Tech


Longtime customer and VCSEL provider Trumpf cites value of Solstice SP capabilities, performance and footprint

ClassOne Technology, a provider of electroplating and wet processing tools, has expanded its flagship Solstice automated single-wafer platform with a suite of surface preparation (SP) technologies.

On the same platform, the company now delivers solvent strip, wet etch, metal liftoff (MLO) and single-wafer cleaning for compound semiconductors and other critical applications requiring ultimate wafer uniformity and process control in a single flexible and compact system.

Automated single-wafer processing is growing in value for both within-wafer and wafer-to-wafer uniformity of microelectronic devices, from silicon ICs to compound semiconductors such as SiC and GaN.

“We are an early adopter of the Solstice platform, and ClassOne has been always a reliable, responsive, and supportive partner,” said Matthias Lessel, head of deposition and cleaning at Trumpf Photonic Components. “Over the years, the Solstice platform has proven its advanced performance capability for surface preparation. In particular, the face-down architecture is optimised for safety and performance, while the platform’s class-leading footprint is ideally suited to accommodate our fab constraints. Solstice will remain one of our key contributors to developing our next-generation VCSELs and other photonic components.”

Solstice is designed to fill a specific market need as a flexible wet-processing platform. Customers can choose a modular configuration with up to 8 chambers for multiple plating, solvent and wet etch applications on the same frame. For volume manufacturing, purpose-built configurations provide optimised design for maximum throughput and cost of ownership. ClassOne says this approach means it can serve customers at both R&D low-volume operations and high-volume manufacturing.

ClassOne has sold or installed more than 400 Solstice reactors since the product’s inception. Moreover, the company’s business has grown 40 percent year-over-year, due in large part to the company’s recent development efforts focused on advancing the Solstice single-wafer platform as its core technology offering.

“At ClassOne we are hyper-focused on technology innovation. As an established leader in electroplating, we are now applying our expertise to surface preparation,” stated Byron Exarcos, CEO, ClassOne Technology. “Expanding our Solstice platform is part of our long-term technology roadmap to address emerging market needs and offer our customers increased capability, flexibility and ROI. We know customers need flexibility in the fab more than ever, regardless of where they are in their production cycles, so offering a scalable solution that can help them grow and deliver top-quality devices is our highest priority.”

SP Benefits

Solstice SP features a face-down wafer processing scheme. This architecture allows for direct chemistry impingement on the wafer surface, enabling high speed and uniformity of etch, strip, and MLO processes. It also gives Solstice SP a huge safety advantage compared to common face-up architectures, as the fully sealed chambers efficiently drain and exhaust dangerous chemistry. The platform also easily integrates technology for temperature and concentration bath control, allowing for consistent wafer processing and extended bath life.

Additionally, the optional white light End Point Detection (EPD) feature provides efficient processing for film-removal etch, e.g., under-bump metallisation (UBM) etch or seed etch. The FaceUp spin rinse dry (SRD) module mounts above the process chambers and provides fast, clean dries because of its chemically segregated location at the top of the tool. When it comes to safety, performance, and reliability, Solstice SP brings a wide array of capabilities for ClassOne’s customers.

All Solstice single-wafer platform options are available now. Pricing varies depending on configuration and chemistry requirements.

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