Dow Electronic Solutions recently announced that three of its products have been selected as finalists for the 2015 R&D 100 Awards, which celebrate the most significant technology inventions of the past year. The winners will be announced Nov. 13, 2015, during a ceremony at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. In this three-part interview series, we go behind the scenes with Dow experts who played pivotal roles in the development and commercialization of these innovative chemistries.
In part three of this series, Marty DeGroot, Global R&D Director, talks about how Ikonic™ 2000 CMP Polishing Pads are addressing next-generation customer requirements.
The Ikonic™ 2000 series of polishing pads has been nominated for a 2015 R&D 100 Award. Can you describe this product?
Ikonic™ 2000 polishing pads were the first series of pads to be introduced in our new Ikonic portfolio. Ikonic brings to market some of Dow's most advanced technology for chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) in a range of soft polishing pads that target multiple CMP applications. Specifically, Ikonic 2000 polishing pads target copper barrier polishing and other processes requiring soft and ultra-soft pads.
What is it about the Ikonic 2000 series platform that makes it so innovative?
The design of the Ikonic 2000 polishing pad series is based on the
fundamental challenge of providing soft polymer materials that can
provide low defectivity, yet overcome the conventional disadvantage of
low process stability, and therefore the limitations in the ability to
meet removal-rate uniformity needs.
Research and development led to the discovery of key material attributes that enable facile conditioning and the ability to quantify the effects of subtle changes in surface asperity structure of the CMP pad to minimize performance variation in CMP polishing.
The innovation behind the Ikonic 2000 polishing pads was the development of novel polyurethane materials with the characteristics of high texturability alongside low material hardness.
What has the response been from the marketplace?
Response to the Ikonic product platform has been very positive. In fact, several new Ikonic series products are being used in the market to solve CMP challenges in advanced node applications. The Ikonic 2000 soft conditionable pads are specifically targeted to processes with the most stringent defect requirements, such as barrier and buffing applications, but we’re adding additional products to the portfolio as needs change.
Ikonic is a series of polishing pads. What are some of the other options, and what challenges do they address?
Dow offers a very diverse portfolio of CMP polishing products, many of which are customized for specific customer needs. IC1000™, Visionpad™, Optivision™ and Politex™ are some of the other products in our portfolio of technology options. These products are used in both existing and emerging CMP applications. The Ikonic products complement this portfolio with emphasis on solving new technical challenges being introduced by our customers that must be overcome to achieve the next generation of high-performance electronic devices.
Why is new CMP technology needed? What are the market drivers for CMP?
As device technology continues to move to smaller technology nodes, there is a continuous need to advance the capabilities of CMP consumables to meet increasingly stringent requirements in planarization, defectivity and uniformity. New and emerging device configurations such as FinFET and 3D memory introduce new materials and new challenges that are not easily solved using existing technology. New materials, complex interactions with CMP variables, and the need to control uniformity within 10Å across a 300mm wafer (equivalent to 1 hair width variation on a football field) present a need for continuous advancement in CMP product capabilities. Dow is committed to collaborating with our customers to address these emerging market requirements. The Ikonic series of CMP polishing pads represents this commitment, delivering a tunable platform of products to meet our customers' ever-evolving and increasingly challenging process needs.
For more information about the other 2015 R&D 100 Award finalists from Dow Electronic Solutions, read the first two parts of this interview series: Part 1 - Microfill™ THF-100 Electrolytic Copperand Part 2 - Solderon™ BP TS6000 Tin-Silver.