Tegal Corporation (Tegal) has received an order for Endeavor AT PVD cluster tool from a manufacturer of MEMS imaging sensors. The Endeavor AT PVD system will ship in the first quarter of 2009, and will be used by the company’s customer to meet critical manufacturing needs of a much expanded business demand for the imaging sensors. The Endeavor AT has an easy-to-use GUI, SECS/GEM communication, reliable low-contact wafer handling, and flexible wafer shape and size capability.

“Throughout the entire set of equipment evaluation and process demonstration activities conducted by our customer, the Endeavor AT PVD system repeatedly returned superior film stress control results, and squarely hit the other target film properties required by our customer for their MEMS image sensor,” said Paul Werbaneth, vice president, marketing, Tegal. “Our customer is completely satisfied the Endeavor is ready to go from final process optimization directly into High Volume Manufacturing, and our customer is confident about HVM success, knowing they will have full process and hardware backing from Tegal’s award-winning team of customer support engineers.”

The company Endeavor AT system is a new, ultra-high vacuum PVD cluster tool used in production fabs to deposit the consistent, high purity films, with low to zero stress values, in extremely clean process environment. Low stress films are widely used in backside metallization for power and discrete devices, under-bump metallization applications, advanced packaging, high-brightness light emitting diodes (HB-LEDs), and in creating the electro-acoustic devices for FBARs and RF MEMS. The easy-to-use GUI, SECS/GEM communication, reliable low-contact wafer handling, and flexible wafer shape and size capability makes Endeavor AT ideal for the ultra-clean production environments for both the front-side and back-side applications. Optional damage-free soft-etch modules, and various DC, AC, and RF magnetron configurations, are available to sputter many different dielectric and the conductive films used in semiconductor, MEMS, and the other electronic device production.

According to the Frost & Sullivan, the image sensor market will continue to demonstrate the healthy growth in the near-term, as image sensors see increasingly ubiquitous installment in consumer electronic, cell phone handset, medical imaging, and automotive applications. Frost & Sullivan also say that innovations in the image sensor technology will expand the image sensor market beyond conventional set of applications now in use, to include the situations where very low light levels, or extended optical wavelength ranges, offer new opportunities for electronic imaging. Another firm following these topics, Strategies Unlimited, points out the automotive market alone represents opportunities for employing between the five and twenty image sensors per automobile, for functions such as blind-spot viewing, lane-departure warnings, headlight dimming, black-box event recorders, and driver alertness monitoring. These automotive imaging sensors will join large number of MEMS devices already found in new automobiles.