Issue #2/2018D.Gudilin Traditions and innovations in production of Russian process equipment
NIITM develops research and industrial equipment for nano- and microelectronics, MEMS, photonics, photovoltaics and other advanced fields of science and industry.
The Research Institute of Precision Machine Manufacturing (NIITM) was founded in Zelenograd in 1962 with the goal of creating process equipment for the nascent Russian electronics industry. The Institute successfully solved this tasks, and for several decades the equipment developed by it was the basis of the semiconductor manufacturing in the USSR. At that time, NIITM was engaged in the development of a wide range of solutions, including industrial lines, robotic complexes, measuring instruments, etc. After the country's transition to market reforms, part of the development areas had to be closed, continuing to develop the most competitive ones. Currently, NIITM is a member of the group of companies headed by MERI, as part of the industrial holding of RTI (AFK Sistema). The Institute employs 120 people.
NIITM develops research and industrial equipment for nano- and microelectronics, MEMS, photonics, photovoltaics and other advanced fields of science and industry. Turnkey solutions are offered to customers, including design, manufacturing, assembly, supply and commissioning, as well as warranty and post-warranty maintenance of the equipment. Industrial, scientific and educational institutions are among the clients, including Mikron, Pulsar, Exiton, KFU, etc. Also equipment is supplied to Belarus and Kazakhstan.
TECHNOLOGIES AND EQUIPMENT NIITM develops, manufactures and supplies vacuum-plasma equipment for the deposition of films, dry surface processing in the plasma of high-frequency discharge and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition, as well as physical and thermal equipment for gas phase deposition, oxidation, diffusion, annealing, epitaxy and material cleaning by rectification. Films of various compositions can be deposited by magnetron sputtering, electron beam, plasma arc and thermal evaporation, as well as using various combinations of these technologies. Plants for dry processing of surface in the plasma of the high-frequency discharge allow performing plasma chemical etching, reactive ion etching (RIE), including reactive ion etching with an inductively coupled plasma source (ICPRIE). Also, the production of industrial and laboratory equipment for atomic layer deposition (ALD) and research facilities for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) has been mastered. The equipment includes a number of patent-protected developments and know-how, including a source with optimized plasma ignition, magnetrons with an original magnetic system of increased power, which allow deposition of soft magnetic materials, for example nickel, without additional processing of targets. The HELICON TM system designed to study deposition processes of various materials, for the first time allowed the combination of physical (PVD) and plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) methods in one process. The use of a plasma source as an assisting device for magnetron and an arc source makes it possible to control the structure and quality of the film. In another innovative development, a magnetron device and an ion source with a ring cathode are combined, which also provides additional control over the parameters of the film. In addition to the serial models, NIITM designs and manufactures non-standard equipment for specific requirements, and such orders are almost the majority. If necessary, specialists of the Institute perform development and adjustment of an individual process solution. Post-warranty maintenance programs are also discussed individually. Vacuum pumps, generators, actuators and other high-quality advanced components of the world's leading manufacturers are used in the design of devices. According to production director Pavel Afonin, NIITM coped with the negative consequences of sanctions of Western countries, although it was necessary to change the suppliers of some components for this. At the same time, the mentioned sanctions and the growth of foreign exchange rates created the conditions for the growth of interest in Russian equipment, as, firstly, its price and maintenance costs are generally much lower than for imported analogues with similar technical capabilities, secondly, unexpected refusals to supply machines are excluded. PRODUCTION NIITM has its own production facilities with areas for machining, electrical mounting, assembly and adjustment of equipment, as well as with a clean room of about 15 m2, in which the development of processes is carried out. The company maintains a stock of the most common spare parts, and the service department provides operational services for warranty and post-warranty repair of equipment. The machines are equipped with self-developed control software. It is very important that the company managed to maintain the principle of continuity: it is staffed with specialists with several decades' experience, as well as yesterday's graduates of universities and colleges. NEW DEVELOPMENTS Among the important areas of development of the produced equipment, the specialists of the NIITM call the increase of the etching and sputtering rate by the creation of more powerful sources, as well as the improvement of the selectivity of etching. In addition to the already proven in the industry systems for 100 mm and 150 mm wafers, equipment for 200 mm wafers is being developed. In addition, solutions for the production of very large scale IC with 65 nm nodes are being mastered. In particular, a cluster system for 65nm technology is being developed with a robotic transport system that connects four process modules with locks for loading and unloading wafers in SMIF containers. In the field of service support, it is planned to develop solutions for remote diagnostics. "The Russian electronics is developing, and we anticipate an increase in the demand for equipment for 200 mm wafers with simultaneous increasing requirements for quality and accuracy", P. Afonin comments on the new developments. "Such equipment is quite versatile, as it allows to work with smaller wafers with less stringent standards, at the same time, creating the potential for introducing up-to-date technologies". ■