Semiconductor Equipment

Lam unveils first PLD tool for MEMS-based microphones, RF filters

03 April 2024
The tool will expand Lam’s range of deposition, etch and single-wafer cleaning tools focused on specialty technologies. Source: Lam Research

Lam Research Corp. has introduced what it claims is the first production-oriented pulsed laser deposition (PLD) tool designed to help build the next generation of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based microphones and radio frequency filters.

Called Pulsus PLD, the system delivers aluminum scandium nitride (AIScN) films with what Lam calls the highest scandium content available. This allows designers to use the tool for consumer and automotive devices.

Lam said the addition of the tool will expand its range of deposition, etch and single-wafer cleaning tools that are focused on specialty technologies. In the case of the Pulsus PLD it can advanced device designs and accelerate product roadmaps in the specialty MEMS-based device markets.

RF filters are used in 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E performance by increasing the number of bands a network can handle. These filters also improve the user experience in these applications. MEMS microphones are used to improve signal-to-noise ratio that allows them to capture even muffled sounds accurately. These devices are used in voice control features and noise cancellation in 5G-enabled devices.

Some of the features of the Pulsus tool include:

  • Films composed of at least 40% scandium
  • Films with low dielectric loss
  • Films with two times piezo coefficient
  • Replacement of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) with lead-free AIScN

Additionally, the Pulsus’ PLD process has a laser pulse that is used to strike a target material resulting in the target vaporizing, creating a stable, dense plasma plume that is deposited in thin layers onto a wafer. Lam said the process achieves a high-quality, unform films with precise control over the thickness and stress.

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