Data Explosion

Unseen core parts of semiconductor manufacturing
equipment: Stages for wafer processing

Responding to semiconductor demand in the data explosion era

We are in the midst of an unprecedented explosion of data distribution volume. As we enter the IoT era, in which Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the 5G high-speed communication standard become widespread and various objects are connected to the internet, the demand for semiconductors such as memory and logic devices is heating up.

Since semiconductors are required to have high capacity and low cost, technological innovation toward higher integration is rapidly progressing. At the same time, semiconductor manufacturing equipment and its components are also required to have higher performance.

Holding wafers for efficient chip production

In the semiconductor manufacturing process, a ceramic component called “stage” plays a key role in the wafer process to create chips. The stage, which holds the wafer during processing, is constantly exposed to high-temperature plasma and corrosive gases along with the wafer during various processes such as film deposition, resist removal, and etching. Even in such a harsh environment, the stage, with its superior corrosion resistance, thermal conductivity, and insulation properties, holds the wafers securely and supports high production efficiency.

Furthermore, some stages are integrated with ceramic heaters to provide uniform heating of the entire wafer, thereby improving the quality of the laminated film. NGK has produced a stage with a unique structure featuring a shaft bonded to the bottom of the stage to protect the conductors and other components.

Reliable, high-performance parts created with NGK's ceramic technology

The high-purity aluminum nitride stage produced by NGK's ceramic technology is not only a durable solid support with outstanding endurance, but also a product with a wide range of customized functions such as temperature control. Although it is rarely seen by the public, it is a core component that is indispensable for semiconductor manufacturing equipment in the age of “data explosion”.

Ceramics for semiconductor manufacturing equipment


Furukori Etsuko

Science and Technology Journalist

Furukori Etsuko graduated from the University of Tokyo with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and liberal arts. While working for a pharmaceutical company, she began writing articles for science magazines and discovered the joy of interviewing researchers and engineers. Since then, she has been writing, researching, planning and editing articles on science, technology and related topics. She is an MIT Science Journalism Fellow and a founding member of Sci-Tech Communications.

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