SAN JOSE -- Germany's Steag Electronic Systems AG today announced plans to acquire CuTek Research Inc., a Silicon Valley startup pursuing copper deposition technology for IC interconnects.
San Jose-based CuTek has shipped two of its "second-generation" electrochemical deposition systems to semiconductor companies, which are now acting as beta sites for the copper electroplating tool.
Steag, based in Essen, Germany, said the acquisition is a key step to create integrated processing solutions for next-generation ICs. The move into copper electroplating systems puts Steag into competition against Applied Materials, Novellus Systems, and Semitool.
A year ago, Steag paid $33 million to acquire AG Associates Inc., a San Jose pioneer in rapid-thermal processing systems (see April 9, 1999, story). Steag also sells chemical vapor deposition tools and wafer-cleaning systems for chemical mechanical planaraization (CMP) processes.
Details on the CuTek acquisition were not released. Under the acquisition agreement, CuTek will be purchased through a merger of a subsidary of Steag with the San Jose company.
"By combining CuTek's critical next-generation interconnect and packaging technology with our advanced rapid thermal processing (RTP), chemical vapor deposition (CVD) and clean processing expertise, we can continue to address the rigorous and stringent requirements associated with the manufacture of increasingly smaller, faster, higher performance semiconductors," said Hans Betz, chief executive officer of Steag.
For three-year-old Cutek, the acquisition will help strengthen its worldwide support and sales network, said Chiu H. Ting, president and co-founder of the startup worked who has worked at IBM, Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Ting maintained that Cutek's copper electroplating technology "offers excellent gap-filling capabilities and film uniformity, long-term process and chemical stablity, coupled with reliability and flexibility of a cluster tool."