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SDK to Offer C4F6 Etching Gas for Semiconductor Processing

November 20, 2003

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) will place on the market in early 2004 hexafluoro-1,3-butadiene (C4F6) dry etching gas it has developed in Russia. C4F6 enables dry etching at a line width of as narrow as 90 nm or less. It is therefore indispensable for processing system LSIs and high-speed, large-capacity memory devices that are increasingly used in digital electric appliances and liquid crystal displays.

SDK will import crude C4F6 produced in commercial quantities in Russia for purification at SDK’s Kawasaki Plant. SDK will then provide the product to the market with its quality assurance. As C4F6 features a very low environmental load, SDK expects its sales will reach around ¥1 billion in 2005.

The line width target in semiconductor processing, which stood at 130 nm in 2001, is getting narrower year by year: 90 nm for 2004, 65 nm for 2007, and 45 nm for 2010. At the same time, semiconductor demand is expected to grow further with the start-up of large-diameter (300-mm) silicon wafer processing facilities.

Fluorocarbon gases are widely used for processing silicon oxide film. Compared with octafluorocyclobutane (C4F8) currently used for processing at the line width of 130 nm, C4F6 has the following advantages:

  • 1.Very low environmental load as it is decomposed in less than two days in the atmosphere (compared with 3,200 years for C4F8)
  • 2. Therefore, useful as an alternative to perfluorocarbons with high global warming potential
  • 3.High aspect ratio, resulting in narrow and deep grooves (suitable for processing at very narrow line width)
  • 4.High selectivity (ensures etching of silicon oxide film only; does not affect photoresist, silicon substrate or nitride film)

In February 2003, SDK became the first company in Japan to complete filing of C4F6 under the Law concerning Examination and Regulation of Manufacture of Chemical Substances.

Since C4F6 can also be used as a kind of monomer, SDK will sell the product for fluoropolymer and other performance material applications as well.

In the ongoing medium-term consolidated business plan the “Sprout Project,” SDK is promoting the semiconductor processing materials operation as one of the “growth businesses.”

The operation includes fluorine-based etching/cleaning gases, organometallic film forming gases, cleaning agents, waste-gas processing scrubbers and components for optical fiber communications equipment.