SAN JOSE, Calif. - Applied Materials Inc. on Tuesday (Aug. 24) rolled out a new chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technology, said to tackle the gap-fill challenges in advanced chip designs.
The Producer Eterna flowable CVD (FCVD) tool provides a bottoms up, void-free fill in memory and logic designs at 20-nm and below, according to Santa Clara-based Applied.
Applied called FCVD a ''game changer.'' Analysts were not as impressed, however. Here's what analysts said about the technology:
Edwin Mok, an analyst with Needham & Co. LLC, said: ''We understand the advantages of FCVD are: 1) better film quality; 2) lower cost; and 3) enabling deposition of multiple layers in one step. Existing technologies that can be replaced by FCVD include HDP-CVD (offered by Novellus, Applied), SA-CVD (Applied) and spin-on dielectric (Toyko Electron Ltd.). The current TAM is about $400 million and is projected to be >$700 million in a few years.
While we view this news as a positive in the long-term, it is unlikely to have any meaningful benefit in the near-term. Applied stated that customer pulls are strong, but production ramps are not expected until mid-C2011. Upside could come from customers deciding to backward qualify into existing nodes. It appears this technology is most advantageous on the vertical, or 3D, device structure. 3D is touted by some to be the next technical step in memory technologies.''
C.J. Muse, an analyst with Barclay's Capital, said: ''Flowable CVD film with focus towards satisfying customer pull for a carbon-free film with a 50 percent (is) lower cost than a spin-on solution. Early on, we still think that spin-on-dielectric players are affected the most, where Applied fulfils memory need for an inexpensive thermal oxide-like film.
While we applaud Applied's renewed focus on silicon, we continue to prefer other names for front-end equipment exposure.''
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