Semiconductor and Wafer Processing Solutions
CAS designs and manufactures critical in-chamber heating and cooling devices, as well as custom-engineered thermal devices for a variety of wafer processing applications.
Components from CAS are at the heart of the semiconductor industry’s most advanced wafer processing approaches. Our New Product Development Team has contributed to the furtherance of pioneering front-end technologies, while the CAS Manufacturing Center commands robust capacities to provide high-volume production to top tier OEMs.
- Pedestal Heaters: CAS designs and manufactures custom-engineered high-uniformity pedestals for a variety of processes, including CMP, photolithography, ash/strip, deposition, ion implant, and more.
- Specialty Thermal Components: Our New Product Development Team is renowned for its innovations in chamber ring heaters, valve heaters, shower-heads, and other specialized components. With the very latest thermal modeling technology and a large in-house R&D Lab, our capabilities in this arena are exceptional.
- Standard Platens: 200 and 300 mm heated platens are available as standard product offerings.
- High-Purity Gas Heaters: CAS's PUR-Therm Gas Delivery Heaters offer high-purity heating chamber gases.
- Wet Bench Circulation Heaters: Our PUR-X and CAST-X Circulation Heater lines are compatible with solvent, DI water, and non-critical gas heating applications.
Precision-Engineered Pedestal Heaters
Cast Aluminum Solutions is a leader in designing and manufacturing high-performance pedestal heaters. Excellence is our goal at every step, from needs analysis and initial design, through iterative thermal and structural modeling, to prototyping fabrication and testing, and the transition to high-volume production.
- Our cast-in approach delivers long heater life and unmatched thermal uniformity. Vacuum brazed and interference fit construction (IFC) approaches are excellent non-cast alternatives.
- Aluminum 356 is the primary casting alloy for pedestal heaters, with exceptional compatibility for most process environments, and a maximum operating temperature of 450°C (840°F), with typical temperature uniformity of ±0.3% or better.
- With IFC, aluminum 6061 can be utilized, or for higher operating temperatures, CAS offers solutions in various stainless steel grades, copper, nickel, and other high-performance alloys.
- Precision CNC machining creates components that meet rigorous flatness requirements; surface features, such as wafer lift holes, proximity pins, and vacuum groove arrays are also available.
- Shafts are integrated via TIG or electron beam welding then helium leak checked for vacuum integrity.
- Coating options include hard-coat anodizing, electroless nickel plate, gold or copper plate, powder coating options, micro lapping, and more. Passivation procedures are also available.
- Cleaning and packaging to semi-industry specifications is available at our in-house cleanroom facility.
A cast-in heater offers several performance advantages over competing technologies. With the cast-in design, heating elements maintain intimate contact with the metal substrate, delivering uniform heat transfer and longer overall life, for a lower total cost of ownership.
Using Finite Element Analysis (FEA), including the industry-leading Ansys® software suite, CAS Engineers develop thermal and structural models to evaluate the performance of heaters and components before prototypes are produced. These advanced tools allow optimal performance can be achieved with fewer manufacturing iterations.
For applications exceeding the parameters of our cast-in approach, CAS offers interference fit construction (IFC), which utilizes aluminum 6061. For applications above aluminum’s temperature limit, stainless steel, Inconel, copper, or other substrates may be selected. Joints may be electron-beam welded to provide compatibility with high-vacuum applications.
Testing, assembly and packaging procedures can be accomplished in our on-site cleanroom. Semiconductor components from Cast Aluminum Solutions are available with final ultrasonic cleaning or passivation procedures. Packaging options that meet specific Semi standards are also available.
CAS excels at developing and manufacturing highly-evolved wafer heaters. Features such as cooling tubes and multiple heating zones may be incorporated, permitting shorter cycle times and improved temperature management. To facilitate seamless integration with control packages, pedestal heaters are equipped with thermocouple or RTD sensors.
Serialized engraving is an option for all semiconductor products from Cast Aluminum Solutions. CAS understands the need for traceability in this market, so customer-specified documentation procedures and copying exact controls are key tenets of our operating procedures.
Custom-Engineered Semiconductor Components
Leading equipment manufacturers rely on CAS for specialized components that solve difficult process challenges. Our dedicated New Product Development Team, supported by a large in-house R&D Lab, shepherds custom-engineered components through the full development cycle, from concept to prototype and production.
- CAS’s New Product Development Team offers engineering tools and manufacturing resources explicitly dedicated to modeling, fabricating, and testing new products and custom-engineered prototypes.
- Engineering and laboratory technologies include structural and thermal modeling using finite element analysis (FEA), x-ray and ultrasound inspection technology, helium leak testing, 3-D CAD software, accelerated life cycle testing, and infrared thermal imaging in both ambient and vacuum chamber setting.
- Examples: heated shower heads for gas distribution, heated chamber liners & lids, rim & edge heaters, cleanroom air heaters, valve cylinder heaters, special inline liquid/gas heaters, special-geometry heated platens, and custom chill plates for wafer cooling stations.
- Available materials include aluminum 356, aluminum 6061, stainless steel, bronze, copper, and more.
- Fabrication techniques include cast-in, IFC (interference fit construction, and vacuum brazed.
This chamber cover was designed by our New Product Development team. The primary plate has an interference-fit cable heater which was precision-formed for uniform heat distribution. Two temperature sensors are also integrated. This component’s power and control fitments were engineered for easy unification with the customer’s existing control panel.
This heated gas distribution showerhead nicely illustrates the precision that can be achieved with our in-chamber devices. A 500-watt tubular heater is fit around the circumference, with hundreds of tiny distribution holes evenly patterned machined across the face. CAS also fabricated precision-mated backing plates for these units.
This highly-customized wafer heater has several unique features. The platen material is bronze, chosen for its compatibility with operating temperatures above 450°C. In addition to a multi-zone heating system, the unit has an integrated cooling tube, plus RTD temperature sensors.
Our full-service test lab can validate temperature uniformity using surface mounted sensors (seen here) or via infrared cameras (in either atmospheric or vacuum chamber test environments). Accelerated life-cycle and reliability tests are conducted using variable voltage power inputs, elevated operating temps, and irregular ramp rates. Advanced data logging equipment provides the required documentation.
Standard 200 & 300 mm Heated Platens
CAS offers standard 200 mm and 300 mm heated platens as readily-available components, ideal for machine trials, proof-of-concept experiments, or as spare heaters.
- Manufactured using our proprietary pressurized casting process with heating elements cast-in
- Base Material: Aluminum alloy 356
- Finishes: bare machined aluminum or hard anodize (MIL-A-8525, Type III, Class 1) (.05 mm / 0.002”)
- Deflection / surface flatness: < 0.0005 in. (0.013 mm)
- Cleaning regime includes ultrasonic wash followed by IPA wipe down
- 200 mm dimensions: Diameter: 228.6 mm (9”), Thickness: 31.75 mm (1.25”) with 3 Lift Pin Holes
- 300 mm dimensions: Diameter: 350 mm (13.78”), Thickness: 40 mm (1.575”) with 3 Lift Pin Holes
- 200 mm power: 1681W at 208V (2241W at 240V) with J or K-type thermocouple available
- 300 mm power: 3350W at 208V (xxxxW at 240V) with J or K-type thermocouple available
- Operating temperatures to 752°F (400°C)
- Temperature uniformity to ± 0.3% of set point
- Platens are delivered as a single piece, ready for installation
Our standard 200 and 300 mm platens are available with or without a hard anodized finish (MIL-A-8525, Type III, Class 1). These platens are also equipped with three lift pin holes, 3.2 mm thru. Our standard cleaning process for these units includes a deep ultrasonic wash followed by a thorough IPA wipedown.
The development schedule for our 200 and 300 mm replacement platens included a full array of engineering tests - from FEA thermal simulations, to Sensarray temperature uniformity tests (see here) and accelerated life cycle testing - all of which helped these products achieve the thermal performance and real-world field reliability CAS is known for.
To verify dimension and deflection compliance, all CAS products are inspected using state-of-the-industry coordinate measuring machines (CMM), accurate to within a fraction of a micrometer. To verify electric component compliance, each heating element array undergoes a series of ohms resistance and high potency tests.
Our full-service lab includes digital x-ray and ultrasound equipment, key tools for evaluating the quality of castings and verifying the location of heating elements. These powerful instruments are employed in the prototype test phase of almost every CAS product, and as part of standard test protocols for many production-level components.
Carrier and Process Gas Delivery Heaters
Our PUR-Therm Gas Delivery Heater - with a design unique to Cast Aluminum Solutions - has been meticulously engineered and thoroughly tested to meet the semiconductor industry’s most stringent purity standards for the heating of carrier gases and process gases destined for the deposition chamber.
- PUR-Therm was designed as a more efficient, more precise mechanism for heating carrier gases and chamber process gases (when compared to silicone wrap gas line heaters).
- Gases are isolated in a .25" (6.3mm) OD ultra-high purity seamless 316L seamless stainless steel flow tube, with pre-installed industry-standard ultra-high purity VCR fittings.
- Third-party particle testing (for >=0.3 μm and >=0.1 μm size particles) shows PUR-Therm’s flow-tube meets the Semi F70 standard for Ultra-High Purity.
- The flow-tube’s electropolished ID meets Semi F19 standards for Ultra High Purity: Avg. Ra = 2.53 μin (0.064262 μm), Maximum Ra = 3.19 μin (0.081026 μm).
- The flow tube's bend radius complies with Semi E49 Guidelines for Inert and Reactive Gases.
- Passivation to ASTM-967 specificiations is standard.
- Features a replaceable heating element: 400 Watts / 208 Volt is standard, with other options available.
- A dual-sensor K-type thermocouple is standard (J-Type available upon request).
- The optional insulating jacket meets Semi S2 touch-safe standards.
PUR-Therm Gas Delivery Heaters are designed to heat carrier and process gases much more efficiently than silicone gas line heaters while maintaining Ultra High Purity specifications. PUR-Therm Heaters are easily incorporated into gas cabinets using industry-standard process controls (PID, PLC, etc.) and UHP VCR fittings.
Third-party particulate matter testing using the Semi F70 protocol shows PUR-Therm’s flow-tube meets the Ultra High Purity specification for contaminants. This can be attributed to a low-Ra electropolished tube ID, multiple manufacturing controls, and a robust product test regime (including scanning electron microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and AES analysis).
Wafer Cleaning, Rinsing, and Drying Applications
Cast Aluminum Solutions offers several standard fluid heating products (compatible with both inline and recirculating tank installations), compatible with the full range of post-chamber wet bench and wafer drying applications. All these options are designed to safely heat flammable media without the risk of explosion or flashing.
- All CAS inline circulation heaters feature our ‘no contact’ design. Heated media is isolated in flow-tubes, never contacting the heating element - a critical safety and contamination-prevention feature.
- Universal Solvent Heater: Designed to heat low-flashpoint solvents (N-Methyl-Pyrrolidone, IPA, etc.). This heater features an explosion-proof NEMA 7 electrical enclosure, electropolished flow-tube ID, Teflon®-covered body, and multiple temperature sensors. Fitting options include VCR, NPT, or Flaretek-style connections.
- CAST-X Heaters: Our CAST-X line of circulation heaters is available in 6 base sizes, with power ranges from .5 to 60 kW. Standard flow-tubes are 316 seamless SST, with EP options available. CAST-X circulation heaters are well-suited for heating DI water and other solvent removal products.
- PUR-X Heaters: This heater features a removable & replaceable PFA (Teflan®) flow-tube. PFA Tube material is compatible with many caustic solvents. Tube replacement does not require a help ticket and can be customer-completed in under 30 minutes. PUR-X Heaters are appropriate for wafer cleaning, rinsing and drying applications
Our Universal Solvent Heater is specifically designed to heat low-flashpoint photoresist solvents. Liquids are isolated in the main flow-tube, never touching the heating element. Multiple sensors and a secondary cooling tube provide outstanding operating temperature control. The terminal enclosure is rated NEMA 7 explosion-proof, and the heater body is Teflon®-coated for corrosion resistance.
PUR-X 1000 and 2000 inline heaters feature field-replaceable high-purity PFA flow-tubes, compatible with many solvents. In some cases, the PFA tube is preferred over a stainless steel flow-tube. PUR-X Heaters are also appropriate for heating nitrogen, argon, and other gases used in wafer drying applications.