SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Expanding its efforts in atomic layer deposition (ALD) and related markets, Applied Materials Inc. Monday (June 14) acquired Torrex Inc. for an undisclosed cash amount.
With the acquisition of Torrex, based in Livermore, Calif., Applied gains a new ALD product, based on a mini-batch technology. Last year, Torrex entered the emerging ALD market, announcing that it has begun shipping its first tool for sub-100-nm chip designs.
The company's FlexStar product is a 200/300-mm, mini-batch tool geared for ALD and low-pressure CVD applications. The tool is aimed for the deposition of silicon nitride and silicon dioxide films for use in space and etch stop, trench isolation, and related applications.
The move expands Applied's CVD and ALD business. At present, Applied offers an ALD tool for copper-interconnect applications. .
"Torrex's innovative capability is a strategic fit for Applied Materials, strengthening our product line to provide customers with the broadest range of processing solutions to meet the technology and cost requirements of advanced transistor manufacturing," said Randhir Thakur, vice president and general manager of Applied's Front End Products group, in a statement.
"Our worldwide infrastructure, support services and advanced core engineering expertise should allow us to expand FlexStar's customer base and quickly ramp this proven technology into volume production," he said.
This represents the latest acquisition in the ALD equipment market, where the big vendors are buying up the niche players. In April, Novellus Systems Inc. took a step in the ALD equipment market, by acquiring startup Angstron Systems Inc. for an undisclosed price. The move enables Novellus to offer an ALD tool for copper interconnect applications (see April 12 story).
Also in April, ASM International N.V. announced it had acquired Genitech Inc., a South Korean supplier of plasma-enhanced ALD equipment (see April 26 story).