Thermal Solutions

In complex manufacturing equipment, thermal solutions are not simply the control of temperature in the active processing area of a system. It is ensuring all the chemical precursors and by-product reactants are addressed to provide highly accurate, uniform and reliable performance. Born out of the 2015 Marchi acquisition, our Thermal Solutions unit knows these challenges. Our culture is founded on working directly with your engineers to address your most challenging temperature management needs.

As the performance scaling trend continues, the semiconductor industry is introducing more new critical processes and precursors than ever. These complex chemistries often require control of multiple parameters to deliver reliable process performance including tight thermal management of gas distribution systems. Averaging almost 20 years of semiconductor industry experience in thermal control and measurement, our engineers understand the unique complex challenges in designing to meet your repeatability and quality requirements. This enables us to provide a high-volume manufacturing solution with the initial design.

Our engineers have state-of-the-art customizable testing and characterization capabilities which enable complete in-house testing of all new products. Our environmentally controlled lab and adjustable external airflow enable us to simulate customers’ enclosures. We replicate process gases with N2 flow (heated or ambient) and measure up to 80 temperature input channels per second. In addition, we provide testing at customer sites (20 channel input capability).

The growth in the number of chemical elements used in semiconductor manufacturing has resulted in a transition in how the precursors are delivered to the process tools. For decades, precursors were delivered from remotely located bulk systems or large ampoules. Today, the high precursor cost means you are using smaller ampoules located at the tool. Minimizing operating costs by fully and efficiently using the precursor is critical and precise temperature control is central to achieving this result.

Our ampoule heaters are custom designed and deliver the thermal profile needed to maximize the precursor utilization. With our streamlined and aggressive development cycle, we understand the need to provide a quick solution to meet your process development needs.

Control of post-chamber reactions has been an ongoing semiconductor industry challenge which has only increased with the proliferation of processes like atomic layer deposition (ALD) and single chamber, multi-layer material etch. With higher levels of unreacted chemicals exiting the chamber than conventional chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and etch, the risk of reaction in the exhaust line and particle back-streaming into the chamber increases significantly. Extending the thermal management and control of the system to include the exhaust lines eliminates this risk.

Our custom designed exhaust heaters ensure that the thermal profile prevents deposition and reaction along the length of the tool-based exhaust line. Fully designed, characterized and tested with a quick turnaround, we deliver the development timing you need.

Preventing particles and vapor phase condensation from impacting your semiconductor processes requires that all segments of the gas delivery path maintain the target temperature. Our customized UCT thermal products address each of the critical elements in the gas delivery path – the gas lines to and from the gas panel, the components within the gas panel and the process chamber elements. With a fast design/build cycle, including full thermal profiling, an optimized solution will not slow your product development cycle.

Gas Line

Designed for your weldment, our gas line heater options include:

  • Removable or integrated design
  • Uniform line heating or temperature gradient
  • Single or multi-zone control

Addressing gas panel MCFs, valves, regulators, transducers and filters, our solutions are:

  • Integrated seamlessly into surface mount gas panels
  • Form fitted to address complex geometries
Process Chamber

Providing secondary level of chamber thermal management:

  • Low cost solution to meet SEMI S-2 touch temperature requirements
  • Delivers pre-heating capability to reduce chamber green-to-green time

Semiconductor tool complexity is increasing. However, the cadence that the industry is working to is still defined by Moore’s law. This means your focus is on process development and extending your base wafer transfer platform. The increase in thermal management requirements potentially requires the dedication of new system I/Os to perform this control.

We recognize the challenge and realize that on-tool control of gas delivery and exhaust path heaters is often not required. Instead, UCT’s thermal temperature control solution can localize the temperature management by integrating the controller into the power input of heaters. This controller delivers thermocouple sensing and utilizes a solid-state relay power switching device with feedback LED. With solid state control, you realize better accuracy and increased heater lifetime resulting in costs savings over an electromechanical control alternative. Pass through UTA & OTAs can be fully integrated into the controller architecture.

For decades, precise control of wafer temperatures has been a foundational requirement of semiconductor processing. With chamber environments that are highly corrosive and wafer heating platforms that may have multiple functions, including facilitating plasma generation in a uniform manner, integrating temperature control can be challenging and may require the thermocouple to be able to survive corrosive environments or to have a complex geometry.

With our beginnings as a developer of specialty RF double shielded thermocouples, UCT products have proven their ability to survive in the most challenging environments. Our design options include 300 series SST, nickel or Inconel sheath materials and titanium nitride or alumina tip materials. In addition, single or dual junction capability is available. We routinely design highly complex thermocouple geometries, addressing the need to operate in difficult installations and high energy RF environments. We fully characterize and test each unit including temperature calibration to NIST standards.

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