Profile: Applied Materials Inc (AMAT.O)
14 Mar 2014
Applied Materials, Inc. (Applied), incorporated on March 18, 1987, provides manufacturing equipment, services and software to the global semiconductor, flat panel display, solar photovoltaic (PV) and related industries. Applied’s customers include manufacturers of semiconductor wafers and chips, flat panel liquid crystal displays (LCDs), solar PV cells and modules, and other electronic devices. These customers may use what they manufacture in their own end products or sell the items to other companies for use in advanced electronic components. Applied operates in four segments: Silicon Systems Group, Applied Global Services, Display, and Energy and Environmental Solutions. In November 2011, the Company acquired Varian Semiconductor Associates, Inc.
Silicon Systems Group Segment
Applied’s Silicon Systems Group segment develops, manufactures and sells a range of manufacturing equipment used to fabricate semiconductor chips, also referred to as integrated circuits (ICs). Most chips are built on a silicon wafer base and include a range of circuit components, such as transistors and other devices, that are connected by multiple layers of wiring (interconnects). Applied offers systems that perform most of the primary processes used in chip fabrication, including atomic layer deposition (ALD), chemical vapor deposition (CVD), physical vapor deposition (PVD), electrochemical deposition (ECD), rapid thermal processing (RTP), chemical mechanical planarization (CMP), wet cleaning and wafer metrology and inspection, as well as systems that etch, measure and inspect circuit patterns on masks used in the photolithography process. Applied’s semiconductor manufacturing systems are used by integrated device manufacturers and foundries to build and package memory, logic and other types of chips.
Deposition is a fundamental step in fabricating a chip. During deposition, layers of dielectric (an insulator), barrier, or electrically conductive (typically metal) films are deposited or grown on a wafer. Applied provides equipment to perform four types of deposition: ALD, CVD, ECD and PVD. In addition, Applied’s RTP systems can be used to perform certain types of dielectric deposition. ALD is an advanced technology in which atoms are deposited one layer at a time to build chip structures. This technology enables customers to fabricate thin films of either conducting or insulating material with uniform coverage in sub-nanometer sized structures. During 2011, the Company introduced its Applied Centura Integrated Gate Stack system.
CVD is used to deposit dielectric and metal films on a wafer. During the CVD process, gases that contain atoms of the material to be deposited react on the wafer surface, forming a thin film of solid material. Films deposited by CVD may be silicon oxide, single-crystal epitaxial silicon, amorphous silicon, silicon nitride, dielectric anti-reflective coatings, low k dielectric (for highly efficient insulating materials), aluminum, titanium, titanium nitride, polysilicon, tungsten, refractory metals or silicides. Applied’s CVD products and technologies include The Applied Producer CVD platform, Low k Dielectric Films, Lithography-Enabling Solutions, Gap Fill Films, Strain Engineering Solutions, Through-Silicon Via Films, Epitaxial Deposition, Polysilicon Deposition and Tungsten Deposition.
Electrochemical deposition is a process by which metal atoms from a chemical fluid (an electrolyte) are deposited on the surface of an immersed object. Its main application in the semiconductor industry is to deposit copper in interconnect wiring structures. The Company offers two ECD systems: the Applied Raider GT ECD for electroplating advanced chip interconnect structures, and the Applied Raider S ECD for advanced through-silicon via (TSV) packaging applications. PVD is a physical process in which atoms of a gas, such as argon, are accelerated toward a metal target. The Applied Endura PVD system offers a range of advanced metal deposition processes, including aluminum, aluminum alloys, cobalt, titanium/titanium nitride, tantalum/tantalum nitride, tungsten/tungsten nitride, nickel, vanadium and copper. The Applied Endura CuBS (copper barrier/seed) PVD system is used by customers for fabricating copper-based chips.
Etching is used many times throughout the integrated circuit manufacturing process to selectively remove material from the surface of a wafer. In fiscal 2011, the Company introduced its Applied Centura AdvantEdge Mesa silicon etch system for fabricating nano-scale circuit features with angstrom-level precision. RTP is a process in which a wafer is subjected to rapid bursts of intense heat that can take the wafer from room temperature to more than 1,000 degrees Celsius in less than 10 seconds. The CMP process removes material from a wafer to create a flat (planarized) surface. This process allows subsequent photolithography patterning steps to occur with greater accuracy and enables film layers to build with minimal height variations.
Applied offers several surface preparation systems. The Applied Raider SP can incorporate several types of cleaning methods, including spray, vapor, immersion, megasonics and anneal technologies with automated single or dual-side wafer processing for high volume manufacturing. Applied offers several products for measuring features and inspecting defects on the wafer during various stages of the fabrication process. These systems enable customers to characterize and control critical dimension (CD) and defect issues, especially at advanced generation technology nodes. Masks are used by photolithography systems to transfer microscopic circuit designs onto wafers. Applied provides systems for etching and inspecting masks. During 2011, Applied begun to design, market, manufacture and service ion implantation systems.
Applied Global Services Segment
The Applied Global Services segment encompasses products and services designed to improve the performance and productivity, and reduce the environmental impact of the fab operations of semiconductor, LCD and solar PV manufacturers. Applied offers a portfolio of fab-wide operations services to maintain and optimize customers’ fabrication facilities. Applied Performance Services offers customers comprehensive equipment support. The Company also offers Performance Spares. In addition, Applied offers a range of products and services to extend the productive life of 200 millimeter semiconductor fabs, including new and remanufactured 200 millimeter equipment, system enhancements and fab transition services.
Applied offers automated factory-level and tool-level control software systems for semiconductor, LCD and solar cell manufacturing facilities. These enterprise solutions include manufacturing execution systems (MES) to automate the production of wafers and LCD and solar substrates, advanced process control systems, and scheduling and materials handling control systems. In fiscal 2010, the Company introduced its Applied SmartFactory MES software, a factory automation solution designed to help accelerate the production ramp of emerging technologies for solar PV, chip-packaging, and light-emitting diode (LED) applications. Applied also offers computerized maintenance management systems, performance tracking, and modeling and simulation tools for improving asset utilization.
Applied’s Display segments products for manufacturing includes thin film transistor liquid crystal displays (TFT- LCDs) for televisions, personal computers (PCs), tablet PCs, smartphones and other consumer-oriented electronic applications. Applied supplies a range of systems that process and test different glass substrate sizes. For fabricating the transistor layer of these panels, the Company offers a line of plasma-enhanced CVD (PECVD) systems that use multi-chamber platform architecture to deposit dielectric and semiconducting films. For manufacturing the color filter of LCD panels, Applied offers the AKT-NEW ARISTO for transparent conductive oxide film deposition. Applied also offers a line of electron beam test (EBT) systems for testing substrates during production for defective pixels and other imperfections.
Energy and Environmental Solutions Segment
The Energy and Environmental Solutions segment includes manufacturing solutions for the generation and conservation of energy. To increase the conversion efficiency and yields of solar PV devices, Applied offers manufacturing solutions for wafer-based crystalline silicon (c-Si) and glass based thin film applications. The Company also offers the Applied HCT Diamond Squarer system, which uses diamond wire technology to eliminate the need for abrasive slurry and reduces electricity consumption. Other products offered under the Energy and Environmental Solutions segment include roll-to-roll, vacuum Web coating systems for high-performance deposition of a range of films on flexible substrates for functional, aesthetic or optical properties. The Company’s Applied Topmet 4450, is a roll-to-roll machine for depositing ultra-thin aluminum films for flexible packaging applications.
Applied Materials Inc
3050 Bowers Avenue,
P.O. Box 58039
SANTA CLARA CA 95054-3299
Company Web Links
- Applied Materials boosted by demand for flash memory chips
- UPDATE 1-Applied Materials boosted by demand for flash memory chips
- BRIEF-Applied Materials shares down 1.2 percent after the bell following results
- Applied Materials revenue jumps as chip gear demand rises
- Applied Materials revenue jumps as chip gear demand rises