2008 R&D 100 Winner
The high hardness and chemically inert quality of gallium nitride and silicon carbide are great for many applications in both semiconductor and materials processing industries. But surface preparation is often costly because even the best chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) finishing methods have slow removal rates (up to 100 hours per wafer) and can cause defects. This hurts device yield.
The solution from Sinmat, Inc., Gainesville, Fla., is the Ultra-Rapid Polishing Slurry for Wide Band-Gap Semiconductors. The technology uses a combination of reactive nanoparticles and chemistry to convert hard wide band-gap material into a softer layer for rapid removal. Smooth finishing is then accomplished with surfactant and other materials that refine the surface to atomic step levels. The system can achieve 500-1,500 nm/hr removal rates and a surface roughness of 1-3 Å at a CMP rate 10 to 40 times faster than industry standard. The adoption of this process, Sinmat believes, will increase device yield by more than 50% and decrease substrate manufacturing costs by at least 33%.